A. At least once during each shift, and more often if necessary, a certified person shall examine each underground section where coal is produced and any other area where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed during the shift. The certified person shall (i) examine for hazardous conditions, (ii) test for methane and oxygen deficiency with a suitable permissible device, and (iii) determine whether the air is traveling in its regular course and in sufficient volume in each split. Hazardous conditions shall be corrected immediately or the miners shall be withdrawn and the affected area plainly marked with “danger” signs.
B. During each shift that coal is produced, a certified person shall examine for hazardous conditions along each underground belt conveyor entry where a belt conveyor is operated. This examination may be conducted at the same time as the pre-shift examination of the belt conveyors and the belt conveyor entries, if the examination is conducted within three hours before the established eight-hour interval. The person conducting the examination shall certify by initials, date, and time at enough locations to show that the entire area has been examined.
1. The volume of air in the last open crosscut, which means the crosscut in the line of pillars containing the permanent stoppings that separate the intake air courses and the return air courses, of each set of entries or rooms on each working section and areas where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed;
2. The volume of air on a longwall or shortwall, including areas where longwall or shortwall equipment is being installed or removed, in the intake entry or entries at the intake end of the longwall or shortwall;
4. The volume of air at the intake end of any pillar line (i) where a single split of air is used, in the intake entry furthest from the return air course, immediately outby the first open crosscut outby the line of pillars being mined, or (ii) if a split system is used, in the intake entries of each split immediately inby the split point.
D. A test shall be made for methane before any electrically powered equipment is taken inby the last open crosscut, before blasting, and before work is resumed after blasting. When longwall or shortwall mining systems are used, these methane tests shall be made from under permanent roof support at the shearer, the plow, or cutting head. These methane tests shall be made at least once every 20 minutes or more often as necessary for safety while such equipment is in operation. When mining has been stopped for more than 20 minutes, methane tests shall be conducted prior to the start up of equipment.
E. Idle or worked-out areas underground, including section belts that have been idle for a period of 24 hours, shall be examined by a certified person immediately before miners are permitted to enter or work in such areas. The person conducting the examination shall certify by initials, date, and time at enough locations to show that the entire area has been examined.
F. Daily and on-shift examinations of surface areas of underground coal mines shall be made in accordance with the requirements for daily and on-shift examinations at surface coal mines as provided in § 45.1-161.256.
Code 1950, §§ 45-32, 45-33, 45-60.4, 45-60.5, 45-68.1, 45-69.7, 45-83; 1954, c. 191; 1966, c. 594, §§ 45.1-20, 45.1-62, 45.1-65, 45.1-83; 1978, c. 120; 1982, c. 385; 1993, c. 442; 1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1999, c. 256; 2005, c. 3.