West Virginia bolsters mining safety standards

Photo: EunikaSopotnicka/iStockphoto

Charleston, WV – The West Virginia Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety recently updated its standards for moving mining equipment in underground coal mines.

The new rule went into effect June 2, one day after board members agreed to adopt the additional safety precautions. The movement of mining equipment underground will be restricted to qualified personnel only, and a certified foreman will be required to supervise the movement of electrical-powered or diesel-powered equipment.

Equipment also will be subject to more stringent inspections no less than eight hours before its movement and no more than three hours after its movement. Fire protection gear will be required in many equipment moves.

The rule does not apply to track-mounted equipment such as mine cars, rock dust tank cars and compressors.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) issued a statement in support of the new rule.

“I appreciate the hard work of members of the Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety, who represent both industry and labor,” Tomblin said in a June 1 press release. “The rule unanimously adopted today will help modernize mining operations, while keeping our state’s hardworking coal miners safe.”