Skip to content

Examination of Working Places 

30 CFR 56.18002, 57.18002, 75.360, 75.361, and 75.362

 

30 CFR §56/57.18002 Examination of working places

(a) A competent person designated by the operator shall examine each working place at least once each shift for conditions which may adversely affect safety or health.  The operator shall promptly initiate appropriate action to correct such conditions.

(b) A record that such examinations were conducted shall be kept by the operator for a period of one year, and shall be made available for review by the Secretary or his authorized representative.

(c) In addition, conditions that may present an imminent danger which are noted by the person conducting the examination shall be brought to the immediate attention of the operator who shall withdraw all persons from the area affected (except persons referred to in section 104(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977) until the danger is abated.

 

MSHA policy can be found here: 56/57.18002

 

This standard requires that each working place be examined for hazardous safety and health conditions once each working shift.  It also require that mine operators promptly take action to correct any hazardous conditions found as a result of such examination.  A record of the examinations must be kept for one year and an immediate withdrawal of all persons in the affected area is required if an imminent danger is found.

 

30 CFR § 75.360 Preshift examination

(a)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, a certified person designated by the operator must make a preshift examination within 3 hours preceding the beginning of any 8-hour interval during which any person is scheduled to work or travel underground. No person other than certified examiners may enter or remain in any underground area unless a preshift examination has been completed for the established 8-hour interval. The operator must establish 8-hour intervals of time subject to the required preshift examinations. (2) Preshift examinations of areas where pumpers are scheduled to work or travel shall not be required prior to the pumper entering the areas if the pumper is a certified person and the pumper conducts an examination for hazardous conditions, tests for methane and oxygen deficiency and determines if the air is moving in its proper direction in the area where the pumper works or travels. The examination of the area must be completed before the pumper performs any other work. A record of all hazardous conditions found by the pumper shall be made and retained in accordance with §75.363.

 

(b) The person conducting the preshift examination shall examine for hazardous conditions, test for methane and oxygen deficiency, and determine if the air is moving in its proper direction at the following locations:

(1) Roadways, travelways and track haulageways where persons are scheduled, prior to the beginning of the preshift examination, to work or travel during the oncoming shift.


(2) Belt conveyors that will be used to transport persons during the oncoming shift and the entries in which these belt conveyors are located.

 

(3) Working sections and areas where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed, if anyone is scheduled to work on the section or in the area during the oncoming shift. The scope of the examination shall include the working places, approaches to worked-out areas and ventilation controls on these sections and in these areas, and the examination shall include tests of the roof, face and rib conditions on these sections and in these areas.


(4) Approaches to worked-out areas along intake air courses and at the entries used to carry air into worked-out areas if the intake air passing the approaches is used to ventilate working sections where anyone is scheduled to work during the oncoming shift. The examination of the approaches to the worked-out areas shall be made in the intake air course immediately inby and outby each entry used to carry air into the worked-out area. An examination of the entries used to carry air into the worked-out areas shall be conducted at a point immediately inby the intersection of each entry with the intake air course.


(5) Seals along intake air courses where intake air passes by a seal to ventilate working sections where anyone is scheduled to work during the oncoming shift.


(6)(i) Entries and rooms developed after November 15, 1992, and developed more than 2 crosscuts off an intake air course without permanent ventilation controls where intake air passes through or by these entries or rooms to reach a working section where anyone is scheduled to work during the oncoming shift; and,


(ii) Entries and rooms developed after November 15, 1992, and driven more than 20 feet off an intake air course without a crosscut and without permanent ventilation controls where intake air passes through or by these entries or rooms to reach a working section where anyone is scheduled to work during the oncoming shift.


(7) Areas where trolley wires or trolley feeder wires are to be or will remain energized during the oncoming shift.

 

(8) High spots along intake air courses where methane is likely to accumulate, if equipment will be operated in the area during the shift.

(9) Underground electrical installations referred to in §75.340(a), except those pumps listed in §75.340(b)(2) through (b)(6), and areas where compressors subject to §75.344 are installed if the electrical installation or compressor is or will be energized during the shift.

 

(10) Other areas where work or travel during the oncoming shift is scheduled prior to the beginning of the preshift examination.

 

(c) The person conducting the preshift examination shall determine the volume of air entering each of the following areas if anyone is scheduled to work in the areas during the oncoming shift:


(1) In the last open crosscut of each set of entries or rooms on each working section and areas where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed. The last open crosscut is the crosscut in the line of pillars containing the permanent stoppings that separate the intake air courses and the return air courses.


(2) On each longwall or shortwall in the intake entry or entries at the intake end of the longwall or shortwall face immediately outby the face and the velocity of air at each end of the face at the locations specified in the approved ventilation plan.


(3) At the intake end of any pillar line--

(i) If a single split of air is used, in the intake entry furthest from the return air course, immediately outby the first open crosscut outby the line of pillars being mined; or


(ii) If a split system is used, in the intake entries of each split immediately inby the split point.


(d) The district manager may require the certified person to examine other areas of the mine or examine for other hazards during the preshift examination.


(e) Certification. At each working place examined, the person doing the preshift examination shall certify by initials, date, and the time, that the examination was made. In areas required to be examined outby a working section, the certified person shall certify by initials, date, and the time at enough locations to show that the entire area has been examined.


(f) Recordkeeping. A record of the results of each preshift examination, including a record of hazardous conditions and their locations found by the examiner during each examination and of the results and locations of air and methane measurements, shall be made on the surface before any persons, other than certified persons conducting examinations required by this subpart, enter any underground area of the mine. The results of methane tests shall be recorded as the percentage of methane measured by the examiner. The record shall be made by the certified person who made the examination or by a person designated by the operator. If the record is made by someone other than the examiner, the examiner shall verify the record by initials and date by or at the end of the shift for which the examination was made. A record shall also be made by a certified person of the action taken to correct hazardous conditions found during the preshift examination. All preshift and corrective action records shall be countersigned by the mine foreman or equivalent mine official by the end of the mine foreman's or equivalent mine official's next regularly scheduled working shift. The records required by this section shall be made in a secure book that is not susceptible to alteration or electronically in a computer system so as to be secure and not susceptible to alteration.


(g) Retention period. Records shall be retained at a surface location at the mine for at least 1 year and shall be made available for inspection by authorized representatives of the Secretary and the representative of miners.

 

MSHA policy can be found here: 75.360.

 

30 CFR § 75.361 Supplemental examination
(a) Except for certified persons conducting examinations required by this subpart, within 3 hours before anyone enters an area in which a preshift examination has not been made for that shift, a certified person shall examine the area for hazardous conditions, determine whether the air is traveling in its proper direction and at its normal volume, and test for methane and oxygen deficiency.

 

(b) Certification. At each working place examined, the person making the supplemental examination shall certify by initials, date, and the time, that the examination was made. In areas required to be examined outby a working section, the certified person shall certify by initials, date, and the time at enough locations to show that the entire area has been examined.

 

There is no MSHA policy for this standard.

 

30 CFR § 75.362 On-shift examination
(a)

(1) At least once during each shift, or more often if necessary for safety, a certified person designated by the operator shall conduct an on-shift examination of each section where anyone is assigned to work during the shift and any area where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed during the shift. The certified person shall check for hazardous conditions, test for methane and oxygen deficiency, and determine if the air is moving in its proper direction.

(2) A person designated by the operator shall conduct an examination to assure compliance with the respirable dust control parameters specified in the mine ventilation plan. In those instances when a shift change is accomplished without an interruption in production on a section, the examination shall be made anytime within 1 hour of the shift change. In those instances when there is an interruption in production during the shift change, the examination shall be made before production begins on a section. Deficiencies in dust controls shall be corrected before production begins or resumes. The examination shall include air quantities and velocities, water pressures and flow rates, excessive leakage in the water delivery system, water spray numbers and orientations, section ventilation and control device placement, and any other dust suppression measures required by the ventilation plan. Measurements of the air velocity and quantity, water pressure and flow rates are not required if continuous monitoring of these controls is used and indicates that the dust controls are functioning properly.


(b) During each shift that coal is produced, a certified person shall examine for hazardous conditions along each belt conveyor haulageway where a belt conveyor is operated. This examination may be conducted at the same time as the preshift examination of belt conveyors and belt conveyor haulageways, if the examination is conducted within 3 hours before the oncoming shift.


(c) Persons conducting the on-shift examination shall determine at the following locations:


(1) The volume of air in the last open crosscut of each set of entries or rooms on each section and areas where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed. The last open crosscut is the crosscut in the line of pillars containing the permanent stoppings that separate the intake air courses and the return air courses.


(2) The volume of air on a longwall or shortwall, including areas where longwall or shortwall equipment is being installed or removed, in the intake entry or entries at the intake end of the longwall or shortwall.


(3) The velocity of air at each end of the longwall or shortwall face at the locations specified in the approved ventilation plan.


(4) The volume of air at the intake end of any pillar line--

(i) Where a single split of air is used in the intake entry furthest from the return air course immediately outby the first open crosscut outby the line of pillars being mined; or (ii) Where a split system is used in the intake entries of each split immediately inby the split point.

 

(d)

(1) A qualified person shall make tests for methane--

(i) At the start of each shift at each working place before electrically operated equipment is energized; and


(ii) Immediately before equipment is energized, taken into, or operated in a working place; and


(iii) At 20-minute intervals, or more often if required in the approved ventilation plan at specific locations, during the operation of equipment in the working place.

 

(2) These methane tests shall be made at the face from under permanent roof support, using extendable probes or other acceptable means. When longwall or shortwall mining systems are used, these methane tests shall be made at the shearer, the plow, or the cutting head. When mining has been stopped for more than 20 minutes, methane tests shall be conducted prior to the start up of equipment.


(e) If auxiliary fans and tubing are used, they shall be inspected frequently.


(f) During each shift that coal is produced and at intervals not exceeding 4 hours, tests for methane shall be made by a certified person or by an atmospheric monitoring system (AMS) in each return split of air from each working section between the last working place, or longwall or shortwall face, ventilated by that split of air and the junction of the return air split with another air split, seal, or worked-out area. If auxiliary fans and tubing are used, the tests shall be made at a location outby the auxiliary fan discharge.


(g) Certification

(1) The person conducting the on-shift examination in belt haulage entries shall certify by initials, date, and time that the examination was made. The certified person shall certify by initials, date, and the time at enough locations to show that the entire area has been examined.


(2) The certified person directing the on-shift examination to assure compliance with the respirable dust control parameters specified in the mine ventilation plan shall certify by initials, date, and time that the examination was made.

 

There is no MSHA Policy for this standard.

 

These standards require that certain examinations be conducted.  They also specify which items are to be inspected, the frequency of those inspections, and what records are to be maintained.

 

Other relevant MSHA standards:

56.14100 and 57.14100 Safety defects; examination, correction and records

75.363 Hazardous conditions; posting, correcting and recording

75.364 Weekly examination

 

Issues to Consider in Determining Compliance: 

        Are examinations being made of each working place every work shift?

»      Is the examination adequate?

        If hazardous conditions are found, does the mine operator promptly take action to correct the conditions?

        If an imminent danger is found, are affected persons withdrawn?

        Are records of examinations made and maintained for one year?