[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 185 (Tuesday, September 24, 2013)]
[Pages 58567-58568]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-22804]



Mine Safety and Health Administration

[Docket Number MSHA-2013-0037]

Criteria to Certify Coal Mine Rescue Teams

AGENCY: Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.


SUMMARY: The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is requesting 
comments on revised instruction guides for coal mine rescue team 
training. MSHA prescribes training materials through the issuance of 
instruction guides. Existing standards for coal mine rescue teams 
include criteria for mine operators to certify the qualifications of 
these teams. The Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) 
Act of 2006 requires MSHA to update these criteria every 5 years; this 
requirement applies only to coal mine rescue teams. The revised 
instruction guides update existing mine rescue training materials 
referenced in the criteria to certify coal mine rescue team 
qualifications. The revised instruction guides provide improved 
advanced mine rescue training for coal mine rescue teams by including 
additional exercises to provide more hands-on skills training to 
enhance team performance when responding to an actual mine emergency.

DATES: Comments must be received by midnight Eastern Standard Time on 
November 25, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments and supporting documents by any of the 
following methods:
     Federal E-Rulemaking Portal:http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments for Docket 
Number MSHA-2013-0037.
     Mail: Send comments to MSHA, Office of Standards, 
Regulations, and Variances, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2350, 
Arlington, VA 22209-3939.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: MSHA, Office of Standards, 
Regulations, and Variances, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2350, 
Arlington, VA between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays. Sign in at the receptionist's desk on the 21st 
    Instructions: Because comments will not be edited to remove any 
identifying or contact information, MSHA cautions the commenter against 
including any information in the submission that should not be publicly 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: George F. Triebsch, Director, Office 

[[Page 58568]]

Standards, Regulations, and Variances, MSHA, at triebsch.george@dol.gov 
(email); 202-693-9440 (voice); or 202-693-9441 (facsimile). These are 
not toll-free numbers.

    Underground coal mine operators must designate at least two mine 
rescue teams to provide mine rescue coverage at an underground coal 
mine at all times when miners are underground. The MINER Act requires 
coal mine operators to annually certify the qualifications of these 
designated teams. MSHA provides the criteria for certifying the 
qualifications of coal mine rescue teams under 30 CFR 49.50. The MINER 
Act requires MSHA to update these criteria every 5 years. The revised 
instruction guides do not change these criteria.
    Initial criteria to certify the qualifications of mine rescue teams 
include: (1) Team is available at all times when miners are 
underground; (2) Except where alternative compliance is permitted, team 
has five members and one alternate; (3) Members have experience working 
in an underground coal mine; (4) Team is available within 1 hour ground 
travel time from the mine rescue station to the mine; (5) Appropriate 
mine rescue equipment is provided, inspected, tested, and maintained; 
(6) Members are physically fit; and (7) Members have completed initial 
    Annual criteria to maintain mine rescue team certification include: 
(1) Members are properly trained annually; (2) Members are familiar 
with the operations of each covered mine; (3) Members participate in at 
least two local mine rescue contests annually; (4) Members participate 
in mine rescue training at each covered mine; and 5) Members are 
knowledgeable about the operations and ventilation of each covered 
    Existing Sec.  49.18(b)(4) requires advanced mine rescue training 
and procedures as prescribed by MSHA's Office of Educational Policy and 
Development (EPD). Under this section, EPD prescribes Instruction Guide 
IG7, ``Advanced Mine Rescue Training--Coal Mines'', which includes best 
practices, handouts, visuals, and text materials for the classroom and 
activities or exercises for practice using equipment and developing 
teamwork. MSHA revised this instruction guide to add realistic hands-on 
exercises for skills training on equipment.
    The existing lessons and exercises from the current Instruction 
Guide IG7 were reorganized. The materials for classroom training are 
retained as Instruction Guide IG7, ``Advanced Mine Rescue Training--
Coal Mines'', and the practice exercises are moved to new Instruction 
Guide IG7a, ``Advanced Skills Training--Activities for Coal Mine Rescue 
Teams''. These revised instruction guides will assist coal mine rescue 
team trainers in providing team members with the necessary knowledge 
and skills to respond effectively in the event of an emergency.
    MSHA is requesting comments on revised Instruction Guides IG7 and 
IG7a to improve the quality and effectiveness of instruction and skills 
training for mine rescue teams. The revised instruction guides are 
posted on www.regulations.gov and on the Agency's Web site at http://www.msha.gov/MineRescue/Training/TeamTraining.asp.

    Authority: 30 U.S.C. 811, 825(e).

    Dated: September 16, 2013.
Joseph A. Main,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2013-22804 Filed 9-23-13; 8:45 am]