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Petition - Docket No. M-96-173-C

In the matter of                                                                
Martin County Coal Corporation
Pegasus Mine 
I.D. No. 15-17330
Petition for Modification

Docket No. M-96-173-C

Date Issued: 11/26/1997 
 

PROPOSED DECISION AND ORDER 
 

On December 3, 1996 a petition was filed seeking a modification of the application of 30 CFR 75.513-1 to Petitioner’s Pegasus Mine, located in Martin County, Kentucky.

The Petitioner alleges that application of this standard will result in a diminution of safety to the miners and that the proposed alternative method will at all times provide the same measure of protection as the standard.

As alleged by petitioner, the application of the requirements of 30 CFR 75.513-1 would necessitate that persons lift, pull, push, and carry electrical cables much larger and heavier which would result in an increased exposure to the risk of back injury. The Petitioner’s proposed alternative method consists of waiving the requirement for using electric conductors recognized by the 1968 edition of the National Electric Code (NEC) and allowing the use of an overload current limiting device to activate and open the affected circuit when an electric device demands more amperes than is recognized in the 1968 edition of the NEC.

MSHA personnel conducted an investigation of the petition and filed a report of their findings and recommendations with the Administrator for Coal Mine Safety and Health. After a careful review of the entire record, including the petition and MSHA’s investigative report and recommendation, this Proposed Decision and Order is issued. 
 

Finding of Fact and Conclusion of Law
 

Application of 30 CFR 75.513-1 to the Pegasus Mine will not result in a diminution of safety to the miners and the proposed alternative method will not provide the same measure of protection to miners as the standard.

MSHA’s investigation revealed that no reported accidents had occurred since 1971 involving injuries to workers at the Pegasus Mine as a result of having to lift, pull, push and carry electrical cables installed to supply power to belt conveyor drives that were sized in accordance with the requirements of the 1968 NEC. 

The investigation also found that the installation of cables sized in accordance with the NEC would be a planned function and arrangements for the needed machinery to assist in the installation of all portions of the belt conveyor system would be considered as part of the planning and design to prevent push, pull, lift and carry injury to workers. In addition, electrical cables serving main line belt conveyor systems, once installed, are rarely ever moved with the exception of the handling of the cable coupler, or, in the removal process.

Additionally, in this regard, the legislative history of the Coal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1969 documents numerous mine fires having occurred in belt entries which resulted from improperly installed and maintained belt conveyor systems and electrical equipment. The Act further directed the Agency to promulgate regulations requiring the use of electric conductors that are sufficient in size and have adequate current carrying capacity that a rise in temperature from normal operation will not damage the insulating materials to the extent that a mine fire may occur.

On the basis of the petition and the findings of MSHA’s investigation, Martin County Coal Corporation is not granted a modification of the application of 30 CFR 75.513-1 in the Pegasus Mine. 

Therefore, pursuant to the authority delegated by the Secretary of Labor to the Administrator for Coal Mine Safety and Health, Martin County Coal Corporation's Petition for Modification of 30 CFR §75.901(a) to its Pegasus Mine is dismissed.
 

ORDER
 

Wherefore, pursuant to the authority delegated by the Secretary of Labor to the Administrator for Coal Mine Safety and Health, and pursuant to Section 101(c) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, 30 U.S.C., sec. 811(c), it is ordered that Martin County Coal Corporation’s Petition for Modification of the application of 30 CFR 75.513-1 in the Pegasus Mine is hereby:
 

DENIED.

Any party to this action desiring a hearing on this matter must file in accordance with 30 CFR 44.14, within 30 days. The request for hearing must be filed with the Administrator for Coal Mine Safety and Health, 4015 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22203. 

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. A party other than Petitioner who has requested a hearing shall also comment upon all issues of fact or law presented in the petition, and 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, the Decision and Order will become final and must be posted by the operator on the mine bulletin board at the mine. 

 

_________________________________
Robert A. Elam
Deputy Administrator
  for Coal Mine Safety and Health