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Petition - Docket No. M-98-06-M

April 2, 1999

Inthe matter of
Colorado Yule Marble Co.
Yule Marble Quarry l.D. No. 30-01185
Petition for Modification
Docket No. M-98-06-M

PROPOSED DECISION AND ORDER ON PETITION FOR MODIFICATION BACKGROUND

On July 21, 1998, Colorado Yule Marble Co. (Colorado Yule) filed a petition to modify the application of 30 CFR §49.2(t) at the petitioner's mine, Yule Marble Quarry (1.D. No. 30-01185), located in Gunnison County, Colorado. Yule Marble Quarry is an underground single adit marble mine. Colorado Yule sought to modify 30 CFR §49.2(t), with a provision which would allow the mine rescue team additional time to reach the mine. The mine did not qualify for consideration as a small and remote mine under §49.3 nor as a mine with "special mining conditions under §49.4."

Standard §49.2 Availability of mine rescue teams, provides:

(t) Except where alternative compliance is permitted under §49.3 or §49.4, no mine served by a mine rescue team shall be located more than two hours ground travel time from the mine rescue station with which the rescue team is associated.

The petitioner requested a modification to the standard that would allow additioual time for one of the designated mine-rescue teams to reach the mine. The standard requires the availability of two mine-rescue teams. Colorado Yule's petition sought to use the Roaring Fork Mine Rescue Station mine rescue team, which was within two hours travel time from Colorado Yule's mine and, as its second team, the San Juan Mine Rescue of Ridgeway which is located 2 Yi hours ground travel time from the mine.

Prior to July 4, 1998, the petitioner complied with Part 49.2(a)2 by contracting mine rescue availability from Mountain Coal Company and the West Elk mine rescue station. The Elk mine rescue station was located 1 Yi hours ground travel time from the Yule Quarry Mine. The Colorado Yule Marble Co. canceled the contract because it was unable to make the monthly payments.

An MSHA investigator investigated the merits of the petition and filed a report on January 6, 1999, of his fmdings and recommendations with the Chief of the Safety Division for Metal and Nonmetal Mines. After a careful review of the entire record, including the petition and investigative report, this Proposed Decision and Order is issued.

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CQNCLUSIQNS OF LAW

Section §49.2(t) clearly requires that no mine served by a mine rescue team shall be located more than two hours ground travel time from the mine rescue station with which the rescue team is associated. The alternative method proposed by the petitioner would not at all times guarantee no less than the same measure of protection afforded by the standard. The application of the standard will not diminish the safety of the miners. Miners lives have been saved in mine emergencies because knowledgeable mine rescue teams were able to reach the mine quickly, to provide assistance. The company failed to provide any compelling reason why the extra time sought for mine rescue would contribute to the safety of its miners.

ORDER

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 57.11050 to the Lamefoot Mine as it pertains to using refuse chambers in lieu of a secondary escapeway out of the mine, 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.

 

for /s/ C.N.  Narramore 

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