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U.S. Department of Labor

Mine Safety and Health Administration
1100 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22209-3939
ISSUE DATE: April 27, 2011


FROM:             KEVIN G. STRICKLIN  
                       Administrator for
                       Coal Mine Safety and Health

                      LINDA F. ZEILER LINDA F. ZEILER
                       Acting Director of Technical Support

SUBJECT:     Reissue of P05-19 - Use of Mobile Roof Support (MRS) Units for
                      Retreat Mining

Coal mine operators, miners and miners' representatives, and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) enforcement personnel should have this bulletin.

The purpose of this Program Information Bulletin (PIB) is to inform the mining community of best practices for reducing accidents related to the use of Mobile Roof Supports (MRS) when conducting retreat mining.

On January 13, 2007, two miners were fatally injured when they were struck by a roof fall while in the process of moving the MRS units. Since 2000, there have been 13 roof fall fatalities while conducting pillar mining. Five of these fatalities occurred while moving MRS units. All five of the MRS fatalities occurred because the MRS units were not being moved in the proper manner.

MRS have been used in the mining industry for over 15 years, replacing roadside-radius (turn) and some breaker posts during pillar recovery. MRS are stronger than posts and can be operated remotely. These units provide greater roof support protection and eliminate or greatly reduce the need for miners to travel close to the pillar line to install posts necessary for conducting retreat mining. If used properly, the MRS units can provide a safer form of roof support compared to installing posts during pillar mining. If not used properly, operating the MRS units and the removal of the units from the active pillaring area can be extremely hazardous.

The following Best Practices have been identified as having the potential for preventing accidents, injuries and fatalities when using MRS units as roof support during pillar mining:

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, as amended, 30 U.S.C. §801 et seq.; 30 C.F.R. § 75.207.

Internet Availability
This information bulletin may be viewed on the World Wide Web by accessing the MSHA Home Page at ( and then choosing "Rules and Regulations/Compliance Assistance Information/Program Information Bulletins."

Issuing Office and Contact Person(s)
Coal Mine Safety and Health, Division of Safety
Johnny P. Calhoun, (202) 693-9507

Technical Support, Pittsburgh Safety and Health Technology Center
Joseph A. Cybulski, (412) 386-6920

MSHA Program Policy Manual Holders
Underground Coal Mine Operators
Coal Special Interest Groups