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FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About the Bituminous Mining Laws of Pennsylvania


Does the Act prohibit the same individual from performing the duties of both the mine foreman and mine electrician?
The Act does not prohibit the same person from performing the duties of both the mine foreman and mine electrician, provided that individual is certified to perform each job. The facts in all cases must verify that the duties and responsibilities of both functions are properly and completely fulfilled.

What safety precautions does the Act require when a mine's workings approaches another underground mine?
A test drilling plan shall be approved when any workings approach within 500 feet of the surveyed adjacent mine workings.

Does the Act require that one year of mining experience be inby the last open crosscut in order to qualify to become a certified miner?  
No, the Act requires one year of experience in bituminous coal mines.

Does the Act require that miners working outby the last open crosscut be certified or be required to work under the supervision of a certified miner? 
Yes, the Act requires that a non-certified miner work under the direction of a certified miner.

Does the Act require that miners evacuating a mine due to a ventilation interruption reach the surface before the mine is examined and power restored?
No, after normal ventilation is restored, the examination of the mine can be done and power restored after the examination is completed and it has been determined safe to restore power. The Act does not state that the miners must be out of the mine before the examination is conducted and power restored.

Does the law require that miners evacuating a mine, during a ventilation interruption and all power removed, be under the direct supervision of a certified mine official until they reach the surface?  
No, the Act requires individuals be withdrawn from the mine on foot under proper supervision.

Does the Act require that all supervisors in an underground mine be certified mine officials and if not what function may a non-certified supervisor perform? 
No, the Act recognizes non-certified foreman trainees, but requires that they do not direct the work force in matters directly or indirectly involving safety.

Does the law require battery charging stations that charge more than one battery unit to have a separate vent pipe for each battery unit? 
No, the law requires ventilation to dilute and render harmless all gas generated during the charging process. Guidelines for multiple battery charging are written and available.

How should a determination be made to determine if a miner is working while under the influence of alcohol or drugs?  
When there is indication to suspect that a miner is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the miner should be sent to a medical facility for a blood test.

What action does the law require when methane is detected in a working place?  
Section 242(d) – If the air at a working face in a mine, when tested at a point not less than twelve inches from the roof, face, and rib, contains explosive gas, 1% or more, adjustments shall be made at once in the ventilation in such working place so that such air shall not contain more than 1% methane. 

What certification is required to be a mine foreman at a non-gassy mine?  
All mines are considered gaseous and require a certified mine foreman.

Are operators required to report accidents that occur to employees of contractors working on mine property?  
Yes, each operator shall report to the department within 10 working days each accident or lost-time injury.

Does the law require a daily examination of equipment on days the equipment is not energized or used?  
All machinery must be inspected daily in a general way to see that it is in a safe operating condition.

What water pumps are required to be housed in incombustible structures? The law excludes submersible pumps, pumps located on or near the section and that are moved as the working section advances or retreats, and small portable pumps.

What is the Department’s interpretation of EMT requirements for quick response and location of EMTs in the mine? Also, Section 2 -- Emergency medical personnel shall be employed in every mine? Some companies are having EMTs sit outside or utilizing ambulance services. 
Emergency medical technicians shall be on duty at a mine in sufficient numbers to assure that no miner shall work in a mine location which cannot be reached in 30 minutes by an emergency medical technician.