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U.S. Department of Labor

Mine Safety and Health Administration
1100 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22209-3939
EFFECTIVE DATE:  January 25, 2011 EXPIRATION DATE:  03/31/2013
(Reissue of PIL I08-V-02)           


                     Administrator for
                     Coal Mine Safety and Health

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

SUBJECT:      Technical Support Assistance in Reviewing Roof Control Plans

This Procedural Instructional Letter (PIL) applies to Coal Mine Safety and Health District Managers, coal mine enforcement personnel and Technical Support (TS) personnel.

The purpose of this PIL is to provide guidance for district personnel on when to send roof control plans and amendments to TS for further review. Roof control plans and amendments meeting certain criteria should be forwarded to TS for additional analysis.

Procedure Instruction
Roof control plans or amendments for coal mines that meet any of the following criteria should be forwarded to TS:

Along with the roof control plan or amendment the following information (if available) should be forwarded to TS:

Recent evaluations of the Roof Control Plan Approval Process have resulted in recommendations to improve the sometimes complex review of roof control plans. One of these recommendations addressed the need to establish guidelines for District personnel concerning the requesting of assistance from TS during the roof control plan review process. The implementation of such guidelines helps to ensure TS involvement in those situations deemed necessary due to the complexity or perceived risk of the proposed roof control plan or amendment. The criteria listed in the PIL were chosen for two reasons. First, ground control hazards associated with room and pillar retreat mining tend to intensify with depth. At overburden depths of 1000 feet and greater, extra precautions such as the use of substantial barrier pillars are needed. Secondly, it is anticipated that operators will increasingly be submitting consultant's reports, computer modeling and other analyses, in-lieu-of or in addition to an ARMPS evaluation to MSHA, to be used as justification for plan approval.

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977

Filing Instructions
This PIL should be filed behind the tab marked "Procedure Instruction Letters" in the Coal Mine Safety and Heath General Inspection Procedures Handbook.

Issuing Office and Contact Persons
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 Coal Program Policy Manual Holders