PROCEDURE INSTRUCTION LETTER NO. I12-III-01
FROM: KEVIN G. STRICKLIN
SUBJECT: Re-Issue of I09-III-01- MSHA Procedures for Assigning Legal Identity
With this identification method, MSHA can track the location of the equipment and establish an enforcement and accident history that follows the equipment wherever it goes. This procedure will simplify compliance while protecting the health and safety of the miners. This procedure will further provide for portability of training and mining plans from district to district and a means to track inspections, health sampling and accident history. It will also set out procedures to transfer approved or accepted plans from district to district and eliminate the need for operators to resubmit these plans as equipment is moved.
Some surface mine operators use auger and highwall mining machines to produce coal as an integral part of their mining cycle. Since these machines remain at the same mine, they are not subject to the identification number assignment as described here. These augers and highwall miners will operate under the same mine identification number as the surface mining operations.
Many auger and highwall operations move between locations and often switch between an active and an idle status. When these changes occur, the operator shall notify the appropriate MSHA District(s) of every new operating location in a timely fashion by the submittal of an updated Legal Identity Report and revised ground control plan. Such location and address changes cannot be considered an operational status change meeting the requirements of 30 C.F.R. §§ 71.208 and 71.220 (notification within 3 days) unless that entity has a Designated Work Position (DWP) being sampled for respirable dust concentrations. Where the operator fails to notify MSHA of an impending change in location, MSHA inspection personnel, from the current district, shall notify the MSHA District to which the unit is relocating, if known, or notify CMS&H headquarters if an operation has relocated without prior notice to an unknown location. When one MSHA District is able to notify another of the relocation (by e-mail or other written notification), the notification is to be followed by the transmittal of copies of the complete mine file and the uniform mine file within 15 working days.
Special attention is to be given to any outstanding enforcement actions by providing immediate e-mail or facsimile notification to the receiving district of the move and of the termination of any outstanding citations or orders. The procedure for handling outstanding citations and orders is in the Citation and Order Writing Handbook for Coal Mines and Metal and Nonmetal Mines, Handbook Number PH 08-I-1.
In addition, each portable auger or highwall miner operation is to establish and follow a suitable ground control plan. The plan should address specific mine conditions, as well as most generic situations. The operator should update the plan to each new location and file the update with the new location's MSHA District Manager per 30 C.F.R. § 77.1000-1 prior to coal extraction.
The MSHA District will receive and acknowledge that an appropriate highwall/ground control plan conforms to the requirements of 30 C.F.R. § 77.1000. MSHA should make sure that all auger holes/highwall entries are properly closed or blocked, in accordance with 30 C.F.R. § 77.1505 at the abandoned areas. Highwall ground control plans should be reviewed to assure they address the web spacing and other measures necessary to safely conduct the high rates of recovery typical of highwall mining methods, as well as other relevant factors, such as depth of penetration and the confined work areas experienced by highwall mining operations.
Regarding training, each auger and highwall miner operator may now submit a single training plan to MSHA for approval that addresses typical conditions and operations for one or more machines. This training plan reflects the MSHA assigned identification number(s) and the serial number(s) for the machine(s) that the training plan(s) covers. Hazard training that covers the specifics of the site is to be given when miners are transferred to a new location. Otherwise, new employees receive either new miner or experienced miner training, as applicable. Annual refresher and task training requirements remain unchanged.
Issuing Office and Contact Person