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-98-10-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 §57.14132(b)(l), (Homs and back-up alarms for surface equipment), for its Sunday Mine Complex, (1.D. No. 05-01197), located in Dolores County, Colorado. The mine is an underground uranium mine using the stope and cross-cut method to recover the ore.
The relevant standard 30 CFR §57.14132, Homs and Backup Alarms, provides:
(b)(l) When the operator has an obstructed view to the rear, self-propelled mobile equipment shall have -
An automatic reverse-activated signal alarm;
A wheel-mounted bell alarm which sounds at least once for each thtee feet ofreverse movement;
A discriminating backup alarm that covers the area of obstructed view; or
An observer to signal when it is safe to back up.
The Petitioner uses Elmac semi-mounted dumpers to haul material in the underground sections of its mine. This equipment is also driven out of the portal and operated at the surface areas of the mine. §57.14132 applies at surface areas of mines, but not underground. The petitioner has proposed to use area restrictions including revisions to the training plan, and prohibiting unauthorized personnel in the area by placing signs clearly indicating that the ramping areas are "no entry" zones. The petitioner alleges that the proposed alternative method of posting signs in restricted areas, instead of providing back up alarms on the haul units would, provide equal protection as 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 §57.14132(b)(l) requires that self-propelled mobile equipment shall have an automatic reverse activated signal alarm (back-up alarm). The petitioner asserts that the back-up alarms would be a distraction to miners. The investigation revealed that the miners did not have negative comments concerning the use of the back-up alarms. An audible warning would be more effective in the dump areas, than replacing them with signs that could become dirty or unreadable. It was also determined that with adequate training in the use of back-up alarms, the miners would become aware of a possible hazard sooner than relying on signs. Therefore, the petitioner did not demonstrate that the requested modification would provide equal or greater protection than 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 57.14132(b)(1) to the International Uranium (USA) Corporation, as it applies the alternative method of providing area restrictions instead of backup-alarms on the haulage trucks for 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