Coal operators finally get guidance on how to comply with mine safety legislation passed last year in the miner act.
In December, details were released by the Mine Safety and Health Administration for emergency mine evacuation rules. Coal mines must now provide four days of oxygen for each miner and MSHA is offering several options for operators to comply by the deadline.
After mine disasters like Sago and Kentucky Darby, federal mine safety legislation was enacted in the miner act last summer. It wasn't until December that MSHA advised coal operators on how to comply with the new emergency plans.
Many mine operations, like the Sapphire Coal Company in Letcher County started retraining miners on self contained self rescuer breathing devices. They also placed large orders for additional SCSR's without even knowing exactly how many to order just to make sure their miners would be taken care of.
MSHA now requires 96 hours of air supply. However, with approved plans, operators can use a 48 hour supply in areas where miners can be rescued within 48 hours. Multi-gas detectors must also be given to every group of miners.
Operators say with the new guidelines from MSHA, the miner act is much clearer.
Officials from one company that manufactures the breathing devices, CSE Corporation, says all of the primary units for miners to wear were delivered first. The second units for miners were being filled the last six months and now the company says the only backlog of breathing devices remains for units being stored in emergency caches and those should be filled within nine months.