Petition - Docket No. M-98-09-M

July 21, 1999

In the matter of
International Uranium (USA) Corporation Sunday Mine Complex
l.D. No. 05-01197
Petition for Modification

Docket No. M-98-09-M

Proposed Decision and Order on Petition for Modification Background

On December 28, 1998, The International Uranium (USA) Corporation filed a petition for modification of 30 CFR §57.14130(a)(6), (Roll-over protective structures (ROPS) and seat belts for surface equipment), at petitioner's Sunday Mine Complex (1.D. No. 05-01197), located in Dolores County, Colorado. The mine is an underground uranium operation, using the stope and cross-cut method to recover the ore.

The relevant standard 30 CFR §57.14130, roll-over protective structures (ROPS) and seat belts, provides:

(a) Equipment included. Roll-over protective structures (ROPS) and seat belts shall be installed on-----­

(6) Agricultural tractors.

The petitioner uses a Massey Ferguson Agricultural tractor in the underground sections of the mine. This equipment is also driven out of the portal and operated at the surface areas of the mine. The Petitioner has proposed implementing traffic controls in lieu of providing a Massey Ferguson Agricultural Tractor (tractor) with seat belts and rollover protection. The petitioner has proposed restricting the speed of the tractor to five miles per hour and restricting the travel of the tractor to designated routes. These travel routes would be maintained roadways to the maintenance shop and parking area. The petitioner alleged that the proposed alternative method of implementing traffic controls instead of installing ROPS and seat belts on the tractor would provide protection equal to the standard.

On March 17, 1999, MSHA investigators conducted an investigation relevant to the merits of the petition and filed a report of their findings and recommendations with the Administrator for Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health. After a careful review of the entire record, including the petition and MSHA's investigative report and recommendations, this Proposed Decision and Order is issued.

Findings of Fact and Conclusion of Law

30 CFR §57.14130(a)(6) requires that ROPS and seat belts be installed on agricultural tractors. The petitioner asserts that the ROPS and seat belts are not necessary since the tractor travels in areas that are flat, well maintained, and not elevated. Additionally, the petitioner asserts that by reducing the speed of the tractor to 5mph, and restricting the tractor travel to designated routes, the potential for a collision or rollover type accident would be eliminated. The petitioner's use of the proposed traffic controls does not offer the same level of protection as the ROPS and seat belts. The engineered protections provided in seat belts and roll-over protective structures are safer for the miners in preventing injury or fatal accidents. The petitioner could not demonstrate that the requested modification would provide equal or greater protection to the miners as compliance with the standard.


Wherefore, pursuant to the authority delegated by the Secretary of Labor to the Administrator for Metal and Nonmetal and pursuant to Section lOl(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, 30 U.S.C., Section 811(c), it is ordered that modification of the application of 30 CFR 57.14130(a)(6) to the  International Uranium (USA) Corporation, of providing traffic controls instead of in talling ROPS and seat belts on teh tractor fro the Sunday Mine Complex, is hereby DENIED.

Any party to this action desiring a hearing must file a request for hearing within 30 days after service of the Proposed Decision and Order, in accordance with 30 CFR.44.14, with the Administrator of Metal.and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health, 201 12th Street South, Suite 401, Arlington, VA 22202-5450.

If a hearing is requested, the reqest shall contain a concise summary of position on the issues of fact or law desired to be raised by the party requesting the hearing, inc!uding specific objections to the Proposed Decision and Order. A party other than the petitioner who requested a hearing shall also comment upon all itsues of fact or law presented in the petition. Any party to this action requesting a hearing may indicate a desired hearing site. If no request for a hearing is filed within 30 days after service thereof, this Proposed Decision and Order will become final and must be posted by the operator on the mine bulletin board at the mine.


Earnest C. Teaster, Jr.
Administrator for Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health