MSHA seeks input on post-Upper Big Branch safety initiatives

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) said in a notice to be published in the Feb. 26 Federal Register that it is requesting information on mine ventilation and roof control plans; atmospheric monitoring systems and new technology for remote monitoring systems; methods to suppress the propagation of coal dust explosions; and criteria and procedures for certification, recertification, and decertification of persons qualified to conduct mine examinations.

These issues were raised in reports on the coal dust explosion that killed 29 miners at the Upper Big Branch Mine in southwen West Virginia in April 2010. After reviewing the recommendations in these reports and related National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health research, MSHA is seeking information and data that will help improve the health and safety of underground coal miners. Submitted information will assist MSHA in determining appropriate regulatory actions.

Comments must be received within 60 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register.

Among other things, MSHA is considering changes to regulatory requirements to improve roof control plans and mine ventilation plans. These changes could add requirements that would provide mine operators, miners, and MSHA personnel with increased assurance that plans are developed, implemented, and maintained according to the conditions at the mine. These changes could improve roof control and ventilation plans, and in conjunction with additional requirements for mine monitoring, would give mine operators information needed to evaluate mine conditions.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.