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Petition - Docket No. M-95-14-M

November 13, 1998

 

In the matter of
Rock of Ages Quarries, Inc.
Rock of Ages Light Side Mine
I.D. No. 43-00024
Petition for Modification
Docket No. M-95-14-M

AMENDED PROPOSED DECISION AND ORDER ON PETITION FOR MODIFICATION

BACKGROUND

On November 29, 1995, a petition was filed by Rock of Ages Quarries, Inc., seeking a modification of the application of 30 CFR §56.19003 to petitioner's Rock of Ages Light Side Mine (ID No. 43-00024) located in Graniteville, Washington County, Vermont. The petition alleged that application of the standard would result in a diminution of safety to miners and that the alternative method outlined in the petition, of allowing the use of a chain driven hoist (No. W-2, serial number 21878) to lift personnel into the quarry, would at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection afforded by the standard.

Standard 56.19003, Driving mechanism connections, provides:

Belt, rope, or chains shall not be used to connect driving mechanisms to man hoists.

MSHA investigators conducted an investigation relevant to the merits of the petition and filed a report of their findings with the Administrator for Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health. After a careful review of the entire record, including the petition and investigative report, the Administrator issued a Proposed Decision and Order on December 10, 1997, granting the petition for modification with certain specified conditions.

On January 12, 1998, petitioner filed an appeal regarding condition No. 2 of the Proposed Decision and Order with the Chief Administrative Law Judge for the U.S. Department of Labor. On June 10, 1998, the miner's representative notified the Chief Administrative Law Judge that he disagreed with the proposed settlement of the appeal which had been previously agreed to by the Petitioner and the Administrator.

On July 13, 1998, the Administrative Law Judge granted a Consent Agreement between the parties which revised language for condition No. 2. He also ordered the Administrator to delete the phrase "...20,000 hours of service" in condition No. 4 so that it would be in agreement with revised language in condition No. 2.

After reviewing the entire record, including the petition, MSHA's investigative reports, and the correspondence submitted by the petitioner and miner's representative during the appeals process, this Amended Proposed Decision and Order is issued.

FINDING OF FACT AND CONCLUSION OF LAW

Pursuant to 30 CFR §44.53, an amendment of the granted Petition for Modification is proposed because of an agreement reached between the Petitioner, miner's representative, and MSHA regarding the wording in condition No. 2. Because of that wording change, the deletion of a phrase in condition No. 4 is necessary so that it is in agreement with revised condition No. 2.

The alternative method set forth in this Amended Proposed Decision and Order will at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection afforded the miners under 30 CFR §56.19003 by allowing personnel to be hoisted by the chain- driven hoist (No. W-2, serial number 21878) operating at the Rock of Ages Light Side Mine. Compliance with this Amended Proposed Decision and Order entitles Rock of Ages Quarries, Inc., to a modification of the application of 30 CFR §56.19003 to its Light Side Mine.

ORDER

Wherefore, pursuant to the authority delegated by the Secretary of Labor to the Administrator for Metal and Nonmetal and pursuant to Section 101(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 §56.19003 to the Rock of Ages Light Side Mine as it pertains to using a chain driven hoist (No. W-2, serial number 21878) to lift personnel into and out of the quarry is hereby GRANTED, conditioned upon compliance with the following:

  1. The drive chain and sprockets shall be thoroughly inspected by a competent person during every six- month period of operation, for wear and component integrity. During inspection, the lubricant for the components shall be changed and inspected. All lubricant removed from the gearcase of the sprocket drive assembly shall be visually inspected for metal fragments or other evidence of potential failure of components.
  2. Any chain that exhibits stretch or wear exceeding the manufacturer's recommendations shall be retired from service and a new chain installed as a replacement. When the chain is replaced, new sprockets and sprocket keys will be replaced, with measurements recorded and tolerances maintained on each of the standard or otherwise sized sprocket shafts and key-ways.
  3. If one component of the chain drive requires replacement, all chain drive mechanism components shall be replaced concurrently.
  4. A record of all inspections, defects, and replacements associated with the chain drive mechanisms shall be maintained through two retirement periods.
  5. All components shall be identified by a unique marking and described completely in the records log, with measurements including chain length, when installed as well as measurements at six month intervals.

The above items must be implemented by the Company and checked prior to final personnel hoisting approval.

Any party to this action desiring a hearing must file a request for hearing within 30 days of the Proposed Decision and Order, in accordance with 30 CFR §44.14, with the Administrator for Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health, 4015 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22203. Unless a request for a hearing of this Proposed Decision and Order is filed with the Administrator for Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health within 30 days, this Proposed Decision and Order will become final.

If a hearing is requested, the request shall contain a concise summary of position on the issues of fact or law desired to be raised by the party requesting the hearing, including specific objections to the Proposed Decision and Order. A party other than the petitioner who has requested a hearing shall also comment upon all issues of fact or law presented in the petition. Any party to this action requesting a hearing may indicate a desired hearing site. If a request for a hearing is not filed within 30 days thereof, this Proposed Decision and Order will become final and must be posted by the operator on the bulletin board at the mine.

 

For /s/ C.N. Narramore

Edward C. Hugler
Administrator for Metal and Nonmetal Mine Safety and Health