[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 10 (Thursday, January 15, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 2187-2203]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-00319]



[[Page 2187]]

Vol. 80

Thursday,

No. 10

January 15, 2015

Part II





Department of Labor





-----------------------------------------------------------------------





Mine Safety and Health Administration





-----------------------------------------------------------------------





30 CFR Part 75





Proximity Detection Systems for Continuous Mining Machines in 
Underground Coal Mines; Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 80 , No. 10 / Thursday, January 15, 2015 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 2188]]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Mine Safety and Health Administration

30 CFR Part 75

[Docket No. MSHA-2010-0001]
RIN 1219-AB65


Proximity Detection Systems for Continuous Mining Machines in 
Underground Coal Mines

AGENCY: Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor.

ACTION: Final rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Mine Safety and Health Administration's (MSHA) final rule 
requires underground coal mine operators to equip continuous mining 
machines, except full-face continuous mining machines, with proximity 
detection systems. Miners working near continuous mining machines face 
pinning, crushing, and striking hazards that result in accidents 
involving life-threatening injuries and death. This final rule 
strengthens protections for miners by reducing the potential for 
pinning, crushing, or striking accidents in underground coal mines.

DATES: Effective date: The final rule is effective March 16, 2015.
    Compliance dates:
     Continuous mining machines manufactured after March 16, 
2015 must meet requirements no later than November 16, 2015.
     Continuous mining machines manufactured and equipped with 
a proximity detection system on or before March 16, 2015 must meet 
requirements no later than September 16, 2016.
     Continuous mining machines manufactured and not equipped 
with a proximity detection system on or before March 16, 2015 must meet 
requirements no later than March 16, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sheila McConnell, Acting Director, 
Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, MSHA, at 
[email protected] (email), 202-693-9440 (voice), or 202-693-
9441 (facsimile).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
    A. Regulatory Authority
    B. Background
II. Section-by-Section Analysis
    A. Sec.  75.1732(a) Machines Covered
    B. Sec.  75.1732(b) Requirements for a Proximity Detection 
System
    C. Sec.  75.1732(c) Proximity Detection System Checks
    D. Sec.  75.1732(d) Certifications and Records
    E. New Technology
III. Regulatory Economic Analysis
    A. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563: Regulatory Planning and 
Review
    B. Population at Risk
    C. Net Benefits
    D. Benefits
    E. Compliance Costs
IV. Feasibility
    A. Technological Feasibility
    B. Economic Feasibility
V. Regulatory Flexibility Act and Small Business Regulatory 
Enforcement Fairness Act
    A. Definition of a Small Mine
    B. Factual Basis for Certification
    C. Derivation of Revenues and Costs for Mines
    D. Screening Analysis for Underground Coal Mines
VI. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
    A. Summary
    B. Procedural Details
VII. Other Regulatory Considerations
    A. The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
    B. Executive Order 13132: Federalism
    C. The Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 
1999: Assessment of Federal Regulations and Policies on Families
    D. Executive Order 12630: Government Actions and Interference 
With Constitutionally Protected Property Rights
    E. Executive Order 12988: Civil Justice Reform
    F. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From 
Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks
    G. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With 
Indian Tribal Governments
    H. Executive Order 13211: Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use
    I. Executive Order 13272: Proper Consideration of Small Entities 
in Agency Rulemaking

Availability of Information

    Federal Register Publications: Access rulemaking documents 
electronically at http://www.msha.gov/regsinfo.htm or http://www.regulations.gov [Docket No. MSHA-2010-0001]. Obtain a copy of a 
rulemaking document from the Office of Standards, Regulations, and 
Variances, MSHA, by request to 202-693-9440 (voice) or 202-693-9441 
(facsimile). (These are not toll-free numbers.)
    Information Collection Supporting Statement: The Information 
Collection Supporting Statement is available at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain. A copy of the Statement is also available from MSHA 
by request to Sheila McConnell at [email protected], by phone 
request to 202-693-9440, or by facsimile to 202-693-9441.
    Regulatory Economic Analysis (REA): MSHA will post the REA on 
http://www.regulations.gov and on MSHA's Web site at http://www.msha.gov/rea.htm. A copy of the REA also can be obtained from MSHA 
by request to Sheila McConnell at [email protected], by phone 
request to 202-693-9440, or by facsimile to 202-693-9441.
    Email notification: To subscribe to receive email notification when 
the Agency publishes rulemaking documents in the Federal Register, go 
to http://www.msha.gov/subscriptions/subscribe.aspx.

I. Introduction

    The final rule requires mine operators to install proximity 
detection systems on continuous mining machines, except full-face 
continuous mining machines, in underground coal mines according to a 
phase-in schedule for newly manufactured and in-service equipment. A 
proximity detection system consists of machine-mounted components and 
any miner-wearable components. For proximity detection systems with 
miner-wearable components, the mine operator must provide a miner-
wearable component to be worn by each miner on the working section 
(including producing or maintenance shifts). The final rule establishes 
performance and maintenance requirements for proximity detection 
systems and requires training for persons performing the installation 
and maintenance. These requirements will strengthen protections for 
miners by reducing the potential for pinning, crushing, or striking 
accidents that result in fatalities and injuries to miners who work 
near continuous mining machines.

A. Regulatory Authority

    This final rule is issued under section 101 of the Federal Mine 
Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act), as amended.

B. Background

    Proximity detection is a technology that uses electronic sensors to 
detect motion or the location of one object relative to another. 
Proximity detection systems can provide a warning and stop mining 
machines before a pinning, crushing, or striking accident occurs that 
could result in injury or death to a miner. Miners are exposed to 
hazards from working near continuous mining machines in the confined 
space of an underground coal mine. Conditions in underground coal mines 
that contribute to these hazards include limited visibility, limited 
space around continuous mining machines, and uneven and slippery ground 
conditions that may contain loose rock or other debris.

[[Page 2189]]

    To assess the costs and benefits of the final rule, MSHA conducted 
a review of fatal and nonfatal pinning, crushing, and striking 
accidents, which occurred in underground coal mines from 1984 through 
2013, to identify those that could have been prevented by using a 
proximity detection system. Of the 75 preventable fatalities resulting 
from pinning, crushing, and striking accidents, 34 were associated with 
continuous mining machines. During this same time period, MSHA 
estimates that the use of a proximity detection system could have 
prevented approximately 238 nonfatal injuries associated with 
continuous mining machines, excluding full-face continuous mining 
machines. From 2010 through 2013, six underground coal miners working 
in close proximity to continuous mining machines died from pinning, 
crushing, or striking accidents.
    These accidents continue to occur. In February 2014, a miner was 
fatally crushed by a continuous mining machine. Proximity detection 
systems are needed because training and outreach initiatives alone, 
while helpful, have not prevented these accidents from continuing to 
occur. These accidents are preventable and the proximity detection 
systems can provide necessary protections for miners.
    There are four proximity detection systems approved under the 
existing regulations for permissibility in 30 CFR part 18. These 
approvals are intended to ensure that the systems will not introduce an 
ignition hazard when operated in potentially explosive atmospheres. 
MSHA's approval regulations in 30 CFR part 18 do not address how 
systems will perform in reducing pinning, crushing, or striking 
hazards.
    MSHA estimates that approximately 438 of the 863 continuous mining 
machines in underground coal mines are not currently equipped with 
proximity detection systems. MSHA monitors the installation and 
development of proximity detection systems to maintain information on 
the number of proximity detection systems in use and the capabilities 
of the various systems. As of January 2015, 425 continuous mining 
machines were equipped with proximity detection systems and are being 
used in underground coal mines. MSHA believes the majority of these 
systems will meet the provisions of this final rule without much 
change. For example, continuous mining machines equipped with proximity 
detection systems may only need modification of the warning signals to 
meet the requirements in this final rule.
    For those continuous mining machines not equipped with a proximity 
detection system, the phase-in schedule provides time for mine 
operators to schedule installation of proximity detection systems 
during planned rebuilds. MSHA anticipates that mine operators will 
equip continuous mining machines with proximity detection systems 
during the first planned rebuild that occurs prior to March 16, 2018.
    MSHA published a Request for Information (RFI) on proximity 
detection systems in the Federal Register on February 1, 2010 (75 FR 
5009) and a proposed rule on August 31, 2011 (76 FR 54163). The Agency 
held four public hearings. The comment period closed November 28, 2011. 
MSHA received comments from miners, mining associations, mining 
companies, manufacturers, and a federal government agency. Comments 
related to provisions of the final rule are addressed in the following 
section-by-section analysis.

II. Section-by-Section Analysis

A. Sec.  75.1732(a) Machines Covered

    Final Sec.  75.1732(a) requires operators to equip continuous 
mining machines, except full-face continuous mining machines, with 
proximity detection systems according to a phase-in schedule. For 
proximity detection systems with miner-wearable components, the mine 
operator must provide a miner-wearable component to be worn by each 
miner on the working section. Together, the machine-mounted components 
and any miner-wearable components make up the overall proximity 
detection system.
    Most commenters supported the use of proximity detection technology 
and stated that proximity detection systems are available for use on 
continuous mining machines. Some commenters, however, stated that MSHA 
should not require proximity detection systems until MSHA can assure 
that systems are safe and effective. A commenter stated that no 
proximity detection system has proven to be reliable and effective 
enough in an underground coal mine to be used as a safety device.
    Proximity detection systems are available and are in use with 
continuous mining machines. MSHA has determined that working near 
continuous mining machines in underground coal mines exposes miners to 
dangers that have resulted in preventable injuries and fatalities. 
MSHA's experience with testing and demonstration of the four available 
systems shows that they are sufficiently developed to be used with 
continuous mining machines and perform effectively.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(a), like the proposal, requires proximity 
detection systems to be installed on continuous mining machines, which 
include both on-board operated and remote-controlled continuous mining 
machines, except for full-face continuous mining machines.
    A full-face continuous mining machine includes integral roof 
bolting equipment and develops the full width of the mine entry in a 
single cut, generally without having to change its location.
    Some commenters stated that persons working around full-face 
continuous mining machines should be required to use a proximity 
detection system for tramming because tramming a full-face continuous 
mining machine can put miners at risk. One commenter stated that 
proximity detection systems are not needed on full-face continuous 
mining machines because they are much larger and slower than place-
changing continuous mining machines and there are few, if any, crushing 
injuries caused by normal movement. Other commenters stated that the 
final rule should also require the use of proximity detection systems 
on shuttle cars, loading machines, scoops, bolters, and other 
equipment.
    After considering comments, the final rule, like the proposal, does 
not require mine operators to equip full-face continuous mining 
machines with proximity detection systems. The Agency has not found any 
history of accidents involving full-face continuous mining machines and 
there is limited experience with proximity detection systems on these 
machines.
    The final rule does not require that operators equip other mobile 
machines with proximity detection systems. MSHA is addressing the use 
of proximity detection systems on other mobile machines in a separate 
rulemaking (RIN 1219-AB78).
    Final Sec.  75.1732(a), unlike the proposal, requires that, for 
proximity detection systems with miner-wearable components, the mine 
operator must provide a miner-wearable component to be worn by each 
miner on the working section.
    In the proposal, MSHA solicited comments on which miners working 
around continuous mining machines should be required to have a miner-
wearable component. In the preamble to the proposal, MSHA noted that 
the cost estimates for the miner-wearable components included in the 
Preliminary

[[Page 2190]]

Regulatory Economic Analysis (PREA) were based on miners on the working 
section being equipped with these components. MSHA estimated that, on 
average, there are seven miners on the working section and they would 
be provided with miner-wearable components.
    Several commenters stated that any miner on the working section 
should be required to wear a miner-wearable component. One commenter 
stated that only miners who interact closely with the continuous mining 
machine on a daily basis should wear a miner-wearable component. This 
commenter noted that only the continuous mining machine operator, 
helper/cable handler, and maintenance personnel working on an energized 
continuous mining machine were fatally injured in the pinning, 
crushing, and striking accidents involving continuous mining machines.
    Each of the four proximity detection systems approved for 
underground coal mines in the United States uses a miner-wearable 
component to determine distance between the machine and a miner. These 
systems cannot detect a miner who is not wearing the component and, 
therefore, could not stop the machine before contacting such miners.
    After considering the comments, MSHA determined that all miners on 
a working section where the continuous mining machine is equipped with 
a proximity detection system must wear a miner-wearable component. 
Under the final rule, the mine operator must provide a miner-wearable 
component to be worn by each miner on the working section (including 
production and maintenance shifts).
    In MSHA's experience, most operators who move continuous mining 
machines outby the working section generally use miners from the 
working section who would be protected by the proximity detection 
system. MSHA anticipates that this industry practice would continue 
after the final rule goes into effect.
    A commenter stated that some proximity detection systems have 
limited ability to function properly with more than two miner-wearable 
components. MSHA has observed two proximity detection systems 
functioning properly with multiple miner-wearable components in use on 
the working section, demonstrating that proximity detection systems can 
function properly with more than two miner-wearable components. MSHA is 
aware that, in the past, a system has experienced some adverse effects 
when two or more miner-wearable components were near the machine. The 
adverse effects were unintended expansion of the warning and stop 
distances, but these effects would not prevent the system from meeting 
the requirements of the final rule (e.g., to stop before contacting a 
miner). MSHA has found that advances in the technology now allow 
proximity detection systems to function properly with more than two 
miners on the working section without any adverse effects.
    MSHA proposed a phase-in schedule of 3 months for continuous mining 
machines (except full-face continuous mining machines) manufactured 
after the publication date of a final rule and 18 months for machines 
(except full-face continuous mining machines) manufactured on or before 
the publication date of a final rule. Although not separately discussed 
under the proposal, machines equipped with a proximity detection system 
prior to the publication date of a final rule would have been subject 
to the 18-month phase-in schedule for continuous mining machines 
manufactured before the publication date.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(a)(1) requires continuous mining machines 
manufactured after March 16, 2015 to meet the requirements in this 
section no later than November 16, 2015. These machines must meet the 
requirements in this section when placed in service with a proximity 
detection system.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(a)(2) requires continuous mining machines 
manufactured and equipped with a proximity detection system on or 
before March 16, 2015 to meet the requirements in this section no later 
than September 16, 2016.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(a)(3) requires continuous mining machines 
manufactured and not equipped with a proximity detection system on or 
before March 16, 2015 to meet the requirements in this section no later 
than March 16, 2018. These machines must meet the requirements in this 
section when placed in service with a proximity detection system. A 
continuous mining machine is placed in service when it is equipped with 
a proximity detection system and placed in the underground coal mine.
    MSHA solicited comments on the proposed phase-in schedule of 3 
months for new machines and 18 months for in-service machines.
    One commenter supported the proposed phase-in schedule of 3 months 
for new machines. Several commenters stated additional time is needed 
for new machines and suggested 6 months. A commenter stated that 
additional time was needed to develop manuals, train miners, and 
validate installations. Some commenters also stated that the proposed 
schedule was not sufficient to allow for the required MSHA approvals.
    One commenter supported the proposed phase-in schedule of 18 months 
for machines manufactured before the effective date of the rule. Many 
commenters stated that the proposed phase-in schedule was insufficient 
to provide for installation of proximity detection systems on 
continuous mining machines. These commenters stated that additional 
time is necessary to allow mine operators to equip continuous mining 
machines manufactured before the effective date of the rule with 
proximity detection systems during scheduled rebuilds. Most commenters 
stated that retrofitting these machines on the surface is necessary to 
assure the quality of the installations. One commenter, however, has 
experience installing proximity detection systems underground and on 
the surface and provided estimated timeframes for installation 
underground, on the surface of a mine, and at the manufacturer or 
rebuild facility. Commenters generally recommended a 36-month timeframe 
before requiring installation for in-service machines. Some commenters 
suggested 24 months, while others suggested 48 months. MSHA agrees that 
it will take more time than proposed for proximity detection system 
manufacturers, machine manufacturers, and mine operators to obtain 
approval under 30 CFR part 18, and for manufacturers to produce and 
mine operators to install proximity detection systems.
    MSHA has determined that the longer phase-in schedules in the final 
rule provide an appropriate amount of time for operators to engage in 
the necessary actions to comply with the final rule. This is based on 
the availability of four MSHA-approved proximity detection systems for 
continuous mining machines, the estimated number of continuous mining 
machines that would be replaced by newly manufactured machines during 
the phase-in period, manufacturers' capacity to produce and install 
proximity detection systems on machines in use, and comments received 
in response to the proposed rule. The compliance dates provide time for 
manufacturers to produce and install proximity detection systems, for 
mine operators to modify their existing proximity detection systems, 
and for mine operators to train their workforce.
    MSHA considers the date of manufacture as the date identified on 
the machine or otherwise provided by the manufacturer. MSHA considers a

[[Page 2191]]

continuous mining machine to be equipped with a proximity detection 
system when the machine-mounted components are installed on the machine 
and miners are provided with the miner-wearable components.
    Mine operators that obtain continuous mining machines manufactured 
after March 16, 2015 must comply no later than November 16, 2015. MSHA 
believes that these machines can be equipped with proximity detection 
systems during the manufacturing process. This compliance date provides 
time for manufacturers and mine operators to modify any MSHA approvals, 
if necessary; provide miners with miner-wearable components; and 
provide training to meet the requirements of this final rule. 
Continuous mining machines manufactured and equipped with the machine-
mounted components of a proximity detection system after March 16, 2015 
must meet the requirements of the final rule when placed in service. 
MSHA believes it is important for continuous mining machines equipped 
with a proximity detection system to meet the final rule's requirements 
when placed in service to assure that miners are protected from 
pinning, crushing, and striking hazards.
    As stated earlier, under the proposal, continuous mining machines 
in use in underground coal mines and equipped with proximity detection 
systems prior to the publication date of a final rule would have been 
subject to the proposed 18-month phase-in schedule for continuous 
mining machines manufactured before the publication date. A phase-in 
schedule for this group of machines was not discussed separately in the 
proposal, as there were a limited number of continuous mining machines 
equipped with proximity detection systems in service in the United 
States when the proposal was published. However, as of January 2015, 
MSHA estimates that 425 continuous mining machines in use in 
underground coal mines were equipped with proximity detection systems.
    This final rule provides 18 months after March 16, 2015 for mine 
operators to make modifications to the existing proximity detection 
systems on these machines. MSHA has determined that 18 months provides 
operators with enough time to obtain any MSHA approvals, to modify 
continuous mining machines that are equipped with a proximity detection 
system to meet the requirements, and to provide training. MSHA believes 
the majority of these machines will comply with the provisions of this 
final rule without much change to the systems. For example, continuous 
mining machines equipped with proximity detection systems may only need 
modification of the warning signals to meet the requirements of this 
final rule. MSHA expects that the systems can be modified during 
maintenance shifts while the machine is underground.
    Most continuous mining machines equipped with proximity detection 
systems are operating with one miner-wearable component. This component 
is for the machine operator. To meet the requirements of the final 
rule, mine operators will need to provide miner-wearable components to 
additional miners on the working section.
    MSHA proposed an 18-month phase-in schedule for machines 
manufactured before the publication date of the final rule. MSHA has 
determined that allowing up to 36 months after March 16, 2015 provides 
both operators and manufacturers with enough time to retrofit the 
continuous mining machines manufactured on or before March 16, 2015. 
MSHA recognizes that machines that are in use when the final rule goes 
into effect will need to be taken out of use for a period of time. The 
longer phase-in schedule under the final rule provides mine operators 
time to complete the installation during planned rebuilds or scheduled 
maintenance and provides time to train the workforce on proximity 
detection systems. MSHA anticipates that mine operators will equip 
continuous mining machines with proximity detection systems during the 
first planned rebuild that occurs prior to March 16, 2018.
    Once these continuous mining machines are retrofitted with a 
proximity detection system, mine operators must meet the requirements 
of the final rule when these machines are placed in service to assure 
that miners are protected from pinning, crushing, and striking hazards.
    MSHA acknowledges that it will take some time for operators and 
manufacturers to obtain MSHA approvals to equip continuous mining 
machines with proximity detection systems. MSHA must approve miner-
wearable components and continuous mining machines with machine-mounted 
components of a proximity detection system as permissible equipment 
under existing regulations in 30 CFR part 18. The three methods to 
obtain MSHA approval to add the machine-mounted components of a 
proximity detection system to a continuous mining machine are: (1) A 
continuous mining machine manufacturer can apply for a Revised Approval 
Modification Program (RAMP) approval; (2) a mine operator can apply to 
the Approval and Certification Center (A&CC) for a field modification; 
or (3) a mine operator can notify the MSHA district manager through a 
district field change application.
    MSHA offers an optional Proximity Detection Acceptance (PDA) 
program which allows a proximity detection system manufacturer to 
obtain MSHA acceptance for the machine-mounted components of a 
proximity detection system (PDA Acceptance Number). This acceptance 
states that the machine-mounted components of the proximity detection 
system have been evaluated under 30 CFR part 18 and are suitable for 
installation on an MSHA-approved machine. It permits the manufacturer 
or owner of a machine to add the machine-mounted components of a 
proximity detection system to a machine by requesting MSHA approval to 
add the acceptance number to the machine approval. MSHA believes the 
phase-in schedule in the final rule provides the time needed to obtain 
MSHA approval or acceptance.
    The phase-in schedule under the final rule also allows time for the 
mine operators to train miners on how to use proximity detection 
systems. Mine operators, under existing 30 CFR part 48, must provide 
miners with new task training. MSHA intends that mine operators will 
address safety issues, such as some machines being equipped with 
proximity detection systems while others are not, that might arise 
during the phase-in period.
    Some commenters stated that the final rule should not include 
additional or redundant training requirements. One commenter stated 
that initial training (new task training) and retraining should be 
separate from 30 CFR part 48 annual retraining requirements. This 
commenter also stated that retraining on proximity detection systems 
should be performed at least quarterly.
    Commenters stated that training should include a combination of 
classroom and hands-on training and that MSHA should consider a cold-
start period (i.e., using a proximity detection system without an 
active stop function) to allow miners to become familiar with how 
proximity detection systems function. A commenter stated that, during a 
cold-start period, the stopping function is not yet active, which 
facilitates employee interpretation and exploration of the system and 
identification of possible variations to normal safe operating 
procedures. Commenters stated that training should be provided to all 
miners who may come in contact with a continuous mining machine.

[[Page 2192]]

    Miners working near continuous mining machines equipped with 
proximity detection systems will engage in different and unfamiliar 
machine operating procedures resulting from new work positions, machine 
movements, and new visual and audible signals. Training on proximity 
detection systems, other than for installing and maintaining systems, 
is required under existing 30 CFR part 48. Existing Sec.  48.7(a) 
requires that miners assigned to new work tasks as mobile equipment 
operators not perform new work tasks until training has been completed. 
In addition, Sec.  48.7(c) requires that miners assigned a new task not 
covered in Sec.  48.7(a) be instructed in the safety and health aspects 
and safe work procedures of the task prior to performing the task. 
Miners working near continuous mining machines equipped with proximity 
detection systems will receive new task training on the operation of 
the newly equipped machine and the miner-wearable components. New task 
training could include: General proximity detection system operation 
during tramming, cutting, and loading; warning and stop zone size and 
shape; response to warning signals; response to system malfunction; and 
re-charging miner-wearable components.
    New task training is separate from new miner training under 
existing Sec.  48.5 and annual refresher training under existing Sec.  
48.8. New task training helps assure that miners have the necessary 
skills to perform new tasks prior to assuming responsibility for these 
tasks. Mine operators should assure that training on proximity 
detection systems includes hands-on training during supervised non-
production activities. The hands-on training allows miners to 
experience how the systems work and to determine the appropriate work 
locations. Based on Agency experience, hands-on training is most 
effective when provided in miners' work locations. As required by 
existing Sec.  48.7(a)(3), machine operators must be instructed in safe 
operating procedures applicable to new or modified machines to be 
installed or put into operation in the mine, which require new or 
different operating procedures.
    New task training cannot include cold-start training underground 
after the relevant compliance date because the system must meet the 
requirements of the final rule at that time (e.g., stop the machine 
before contacting a miner, provide audible and visual warning signals).

B. Sec.  75.1732(b) Requirements for a Proximity Detection System

    Final Sec.  75.1732(b) establishes requirements for proximity 
detection systems. A proximity detection system includes machine-
mounted components and miner-wearable components.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(b)(1) requires that a proximity detection 
system cause a machine, which is tramming from place-to-place or 
repositioning, to stop before contacting a miner except for a miner who 
is in the on-board operator's compartment. This provision is changed 
from proposed Sec.  75.1732(b)(1) that would have required that a 
proximity detection system cause a machine to stop no closer than 3 
feet from a miner.
    MSHA solicited comments on the proposed 3-foot stopping distance 
and on alternatives such as other specific stopping distances or a 
performance-based requirement. Performance-based requirements focus on 
attaining objectives, such as stopping a machine before contacting a 
miner, rather than being prescriptive in how the result is achieved, 
such as stopping within a certain distance. Some commenters stated that 
the Agency's proposal to require the machine to stop no closer than 3 
feet from a miner would not provide flexibility to allow for mine- and 
machine-specific conditions. They stated that there were too many 
variables to be able to assure that the machine will stop consistently 
before getting to 3 feet from a miner. According to these commenters, 
these variables include the imprecision of electromagnetic technology, 
mine conditions, and machine relay activation time. Commenters stated 
that MSHA should consider a performance-based approach. One commenter, 
however, agreed that a proximity detection system should cause a 
machine to stop no closer than 3 feet from a miner.
    The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) 
recommended that MSHA use a performance-based approach because the 
requirement to stop the machine no closer than 3 feet from a miner 
would limit future technological innovations that could improve miner 
safety. NIOSH stated that future ``intelligent'' systems, those that 
monitor workers' positions and disable only unsafe movement, may not 
require the entire machine to stop; rather they could restrict certain 
motions of the machine. NIOSH stated that there are several advantages 
to restricting certain motions of the machine including decreased 
nuisance shut-downs; flexibility in operator position when close 
proximity to the machine is needed; flexibility in operator position to 
avoid other hazards; and increased safety and productivity.
    MSHA's experience with testing and observing proximity detection 
systems indicates that causing a machine to stop before contacting a 
miner provides the required performance and appropriate protection. A 
performance-based approach allows mine operators and manufacturers to 
address mine- and machine-specific conditions when determining the 
appropriate settings for the proximity detection system. Specific 
conditions include steep or slippery roadways, tramming speed of 
machinery, location of the miner-wearable component, and the accuracy 
of the proximity detection system. Mine operators are responsible for 
programming a proximity detection system to initiate the stop movement 
function at an appropriate distance from a miner to assure that the 
machine stops before it can contact a miner.
    The final rule requires that a proximity detection system cause a 
continuous mining machine to stop before contacting a miner. Stopping a 
continuous mining machine consists of stopping the tramming and 
conveyor swing movements that could cause the machine to contact a 
miner. The machine must remain stopped while any miner is within the 
programmed stop zone.
    Commenters stated that a proximity detection system should only 
stop the tram and conveyor boom swing movements and not de-energize the 
entire continuous mining machine.
    Unexpected tramming and conveyer boom swing movements can be 
hazardous. Many pinning, crushing, and striking accidents occur as a 
result of continuous mining machine tram or conveyor boom swing 
functions. MSHA has determined that it is unnecessary to shut down the 
machine to stop all machine movement because miners are protected by 
stopping the tramming and conveyor swing movements. Shutting down the 
machine causes stress on machine components. The requirement to stop 
tram and conveyor boom swing movements that could contact a miner does 
not prohibit the use of proximity detection systems that can pinpoint a 
miner's location and prevent machine movements accordingly.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(b)(1) requires that the proximity detection 
system cause a machine, which is tramming from place-to-place or 
repositioning, to stop before contacting a miner except for a miner who 
is in the on-board operator's compartment. The final rule, like 
proposed Sec.  75.1732(b)(1)(i), allows machines equipped with a 
proximity

[[Page 2193]]

detection system to move if the only miner in proximity occupies the 
operator's compartment. MSHA did not receive comments on proposed Sec.  
75.1732(b)(1)(i).
    Final Sec.  75.1732(b)(1) does not include proposed Sec.  
75.1732(b)(1)(ii), which would have provided an exception for a miner 
who is remotely operating a continuous mining machine while cutting 
coal or rock. The proposal would have required the machine to stop 
before contacting the machine operator. Commenters stated that the 
proposed requirement would force miners to stand in a location with a 
significantly higher risk of being struck by a shuttle car while 
cutting or loading or turning a crosscut. Other commenters stated that 
the proximity detection system should allow a continuous mining machine 
operator to be located behind the rear bumper and adjacent to the 
conveyor boom when cutting or loading. One commenter has experience 
deactivating the proximity detection system when cutting or loading. 
Another commenter stated that there is no history of accidents during 
cutting or loading. Another commenter stated that a zone must be 
provided to prevent forcing the continuous mining machine operator out 
of a safe area and into the hazardous area around another piece of 
equipment particularly, shuttle cars, ram cars, loading machines, and 
scoops.
    NIOSH recommended eliminating Sec.  75.1732(b)(1)(ii) as proposed. 
NIOSH and other commenters stated there is no means currently available 
in the MSHA-approved proximity detection systems for determining 
whether the continuous mining machine is cutting coal/rock or only 
running the cutter drum. NIOSH and other commenters also stated that 
other activities may require an operator or miner to be closer than 3 
feet to the continuous mining machine, such as positioning the conveyor 
boom over the shuttle car or activating certain machine functions 
during maintenance.
    MSHA reviewed an internal study conducted in 2002 in which MSHA 
studied the location of the remote-controlled continuous mining machine 
operator relative to the machine during production and while tramming. 
This internal study was included in the record for public review and 
comment. MSHA found that using a proximity detection system during 
cutting would be impractical due to where the continuous mining machine 
operator has to stand to safely operate the machine. The use of the 
proximity detection system on the continuous mining machine during 
cutting of coal may place the operator in the path of other equipment. 
The study concluded that the proximity detection system should be 
activated while tramming but not be activated while cutting.
    MSHA agrees with commenters who identified situations during 
cutting when the proposed requirement, in some circumstances, may cause 
miners to stand in a location with a higher risk of being struck by a 
coal hauling machine. The continuous mining machine was tramming from 
place-to-place or repositioning in all 34 fatal accidents (those 
occurring in 1984 through 2013) that could have been prevented by the 
use of proximity detection systems. MSHA recognizes that there are 
certain mining operations where continuous mining machine operators 
must get close to the machine to properly perform the required tasks 
(e.g., turning crosscuts).
    Under the final rule, mine operators must use proximity detection 
systems that will cause a continuous mining machine, which is tramming 
from place-to-place or repositioning, to stop before contacting a miner 
(except for a miner who is in an on-board operator's compartment). 
Tramming from place-to-place includes moving the machine from one 
working face to another (i.e., place-changing). Repositioning includes 
moving from one side of a cut to the other (commonly called setting 
over) and also includes cleaning up loose coal or rock when not 
cutting.
    The final rule does not require that a proximity detection system 
provide a warning or stop the continuous mining machine when it is 
cutting coal or rock. This includes when the cutter head is used to 
clean up coal or rock, such as after a roof fall. MSHA intends that the 
proximity detection system be operational and function properly at all 
times when the continuous mining machine is in use. However, it is not 
required to provide a warning or stop machine movement when the 
continuous mining machine is cutting coal or rock.
    In MSHA's experience, when a continuous mining machine is cutting 
coal or rock, the machine moves slower, reducing the hazard. This 
reduced hazard is reflected by the absence of fatal accidents when 
continuous mining machines are cutting. MSHA recognizes that if the 
continuous mining machine operator is forced away from the machine, the 
operator may be exposed to other hazards. The final rule is changed 
from the proposal to allow miners to work in close proximity to the 
continuous mining machine when it is cutting coal or rock to avoid 
hazards related to other mobile machines.
    Based on NIOSH recommendations, comments received, and MSHA 
experience, MSHA is requiring proximity detection systems to cause a 
machine, when tramming from place-to-place or repositioning, to stop 
before contacting a miner. An exception is provided when relocating a 
continuous mining machine from an unsafe location for repair when a 
machine-mounted component of a proximity detection system is not 
functioning properly.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(b)(2) is changed from the proposal and requires 
that a proximity detection system provide an audible and a visual 
warning signal on the miner-wearable component and a visual warning 
signal on the machine that alert miners before the system causes a 
machine to stop. These warning signals must be distinguishable from 
other signals. The proposal would have required either an audible or 
visual warning signal, distinguishable from other signals, when the 
machine is 5 feet and closer to a miner.
    One commenter stated that both an audible and visual warning is 
necessary when the continuous mining machine is 5 feet and closer to 
the miner.
    After considering comments, MSHA determined that a proximity 
detection system must provide both an audible and visual warning signal 
to any miner who may be in proximity to the continuous mining machine. 
This provides an added margin of safety because audible signals may not 
always be heard and visual signals may not always be seen.
    The audible and visual warnings provided by miner-wearable 
components allow the miner wearing the component to move away from the 
machine before the proximity detection system causes the machine to 
stop. The visual warning provided on the machine alerts the machine 
operator as well as all miners near the machine.
    Several commenters recommended a performance-based warning signal 
requirement. One commenter stated that warning signals are critical to 
the implementation of a proximity detection system, but that a 5-foot 
warning is not practical for all mining conditions. This commenter 
stated that the existing proximity detection technology cannot 
guarantee a set distance from a person where the proximity detection 
system would provide a warning due to electromagnetic variability and 
environmental conditions. Several commenters stated that a warning 
signal is unnecessary and may be a nuisance.
    MSHA agrees with commenters who stated that a warning signal 
requirement should be performance-based rather than the 5-foot distance 
in the proposal. A performance-based approach allows mine operators and 
manufacturers to

[[Page 2194]]

address mine- and machine-specific conditions, tramming speed of 
machinery, location of the miner-wearable component, and accuracy of 
the proximity detection system when determining the appropriate 
settings for triggering warnings. MSHA anticipates that mine operators 
and manufacturers will program a proximity detection system to provide 
warnings at a distance that will allow the miner to move away before 
the proximity detection system causes the machine to stop.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(b)(2) does not include proposed paragraphs (i), 
the exception to provide a warning signal for a miner who is in an on-
board operator's compartment, and (ii), the exception to provide a 
warning signal for a miner who is remotely operating a continuous 
mining machine while cutting coal or rock. The proposed paragraphs are 
not needed because final Sec.  75.1732(b)(1) requires a proximity 
detection system to cause a machine, which is tramming from place-to-
place or repositioning, to stop before contacting a miner. For the 
reasons noted above, this final rule does not require the proximity 
detection system to cause a machine to stop before contacting a miner 
when cutting coal or rock as proposed. The exceptions are not needed. 
Final Sec.  75.1732(b)(2) is performance-based and requires audible and 
visual warning signals before causing a machine to stop.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(b)(3), like the proposal, requires that a 
proximity detection system provide a visual signal on the machine that 
indicates the machine-mounted components are functioning properly.
    A commenter stated that this provision should be removed because 
the signal could give miners a false sense of security. Another 
commenter stated that a proximity detection system should include a 
diagnostic function that provides a visual signal that the system is 
working properly. This commenter stated that a visual signal will allow 
miners to readily determine that the system is functioning properly and 
recommended that the signal be located where a miner can observe it 
from all work locations.
    MSHA agrees that the required visual signal allows miners to 
readily determine that the machine-mounted components of a proximity 
detection system are functioning properly. A light-emitting diode (LED) 
would be an acceptable visual signal. The signal indicates that the 
machine-mounted components are working properly.
    A commenter stated that MSHA should clarify the term functioning 
properly. MSHA considers the proximity detection system to be 
functioning properly when the system is working as designed and will: 
Cause the machine to stop before contacting a miner; provide audible 
and visual warning signals, distinguishable from other signals, that 
alert miners before causing the machine to stop; provide the required 
visual signals on the machine; and prevent movement of the machine if 
any machine-mounted component is not working as intended. If a miner-
wearable component malfunctions during the shift, a replacement must be 
provided for the miner.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(b)(4), similar to the proposal, requires that a 
proximity detection system prevent movement of the continuous mining 
machine if any machine-mounted component of the system is not 
functioning properly. However, a system with any machine-mounted 
component that is not functioning properly may allow machine movement 
if it provides an audible or visual warning signal, distinguishable 
from other signals, during movement. Such movement is permitted only 
for purposes of relocating the machine from an unsafe location for 
repair.
    A commenter stated that a distinct audible or visual alarm will 
make miners aware that the proximity detection system is not operating 
normally. Several commenters recommended allowing a machine with a 
malfunctioning proximity detection system to operate until the next 
maintenance shift or up to 24 hours using alternative protective 
measures. One commenter recommended that the rule permit a machine with 
a malfunctioning proximity detection system to operate until finishing 
the cut that is in progress. This commenter stated that completing the 
cut should be permitted since there is no history of accidents during 
cutting or loading. Another commenter supported the proposal but stated 
that a machine with a malfunctioning proximity detection system should 
only be moved under the direction of a qualified mechanic or certified 
electrician. A commenter stated that MSHA should allow the machine to 
continue moving with an audible or visual warning signal only for the 
time necessary to move the machine to a safe location for repair before 
the end of the current production shift.
    The final rule is changed from the proposal to clarify that a 
proximity detection system must prevent movement of the continuous 
mining machine if any machine-mounted component of the system is not 
functioning properly. MSHA intends for the proximity detection system 
to prevent all machine movement. This includes the tramming and 
conveyor swing movements that could cause the machine to contact a 
miner, as well as other machine movements associated with cutting coal 
or rock. Cutting cannot continue because the tramming function, which 
is needed to keep the cutter head in contact with coal or rock, would 
be disabled when machine-mounted components malfunction. A continuous 
mining machine equipped with a malfunctioning machine-mounted component 
could expose miners to pinning, crushing, and striking hazards. When 
any machine-mounted component of the system is not functioning 
properly, preventing all machine movement helps to assure that miners 
are protected.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(b)(4) provides for an exception to allow a 
machine to be moved for repair if the system is not functioning 
properly; the machine is in an unsafe location; and the system provides 
an audible or visual warning signal, distinguishable from other 
signals, during movement. Overriding the proximity detection system 
should only occur for the time necessary to move the machine to a safe 
location--for example, the time needed to move a continuous mining 
machine from under unsupported roof to an appropriate repair location. 
MSHA intends that machine movement be restricted to tramming and the 
hydraulic functions necessary to move the continuous mining machine to 
a safe location. Under the final rule, this movement is allowed only to 
relocate the machine so repairs can be made safely.
    The final rule does not require a mechanic or qualified electrician 
to direct the relocation of a machine with a malfunctioning proximity 
detection system. Mine operators must train machine operators, under 
existing new task training requirements, to relocate a machine to a 
safe location for repair.
    This provision is changed from the proposal to clarify that the 
warning signal must be provided by the proximity detection system. 
Either an audible or visual signal is sufficient warning when the 
machine is moving while any machine-mounted component of the proximity 
detection system is not functioning properly. In MSHA's experience, 
both types of warning signals are not necessary because miners are 
generally aware if the machine is not functioning properly and the 
machine will only be moved a limited distance in a supervised 
environment.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(b)(5), changed from the proposal, requires that 
proximity detection systems be installed to prevent interference that 
adversely affects performance of any electrical

[[Page 2195]]

system. The proposed rule would have required mine operators to prevent 
interference with or from other electrical systems. The final rule 
clarifies that mine operators must prevent interference that adversely 
affects performance of any electrical system.
    A commenter stated that if there are interference issues with a 
proximity detection system, the problems need to be identified, 
resolved, and shared with the rest of the industry. Commenters stated 
there are several electrical devices at risk for interference and this 
interference may occur when kneeling in close proximity to loops of 
cables, such as in low seam mines where experience with proximity 
detection systems is limited. A commenter stated that a final rule 
should require installation such that electrical interference from 
other devices does not affect proper functioning.
    Electrical systems used in the mine, including proximity detection 
systems, can adversely affect the function of other electrical systems 
through the generation of electromagnetic interference which includes 
radio frequency interference. There have been instances of adverse 
performance of a remote-controlled system, an atmospheric monitoring 
system, and a machine-mounted methane monitoring system when a hand-
held radio was in use near the affected systems. Electromagnetic output 
of approved proximity detection systems is substantially lower and uses 
different frequencies than other mine electrical systems, such as 
communication and atmospheric monitoring systems; therefore, the 
likelihood of encountering interference issues is less, even in low 
seam mines. Additionally, MSHA has not experienced issues with adverse 
interference, with or from other electrical systems, associated with 
the 425 systems in use on continuous mining machines in underground 
coal mines.
    The final rule requires the mine operator to evaluate the proximity 
detection system and other electrical systems, including blasting 
circuits, in the mine and take adequate steps to prevent adverse 
interference. Steps could include design considerations, such as the 
addition of filters or providing adequate separation between electrical 
systems.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(b)(6), changed from the proposal, requires that 
a proximity detection system be installed and maintained in proper 
operating condition by a person trained in the installation and 
maintenance of the system.
    One commenter stated that continuous mining machine operators, 
mechanics, and electricians should receive training at the mine from 
the manufacturer covering the operation, installation, and maintenance 
of the system. Another commenter stated that MSHA should not mandate 
training because either the persons can perform the work or they 
cannot. Another commenter stated that all miners affected by a 
proximity detection system should be trained as required by 30 CFR part 
48 task training and, to prevent redundancy, there should not be 
additional training requirements.
    Based on MSHA's experience with testing of proximity detection 
systems, the Agency has determined that proper functioning of a 
proximity detection system is directly related to the quality of the 
installation and maintenance of the systems. The training requirement 
in the final rule for installing and maintaining a proximity detection 
system is in addition to training required under existing part 48. The 
new training requirement helps assure that the person performing the 
installation and maintenance of a proximity detection system 
understands the system and can perform the work necessary to assure 
that the system operates properly. Appropriate training could include 
adjusting detection zones, trouble-shooting electrical connections, and 
replacing and adjusting machine-mounted and miner-wearable components.
    MSHA anticipates that operators will assign miners to perform most 
maintenance activities, but representatives of the manufacturer may 
perform some maintenance. Based on Agency experience, operators will 
generally arrange for proximity detection system manufacturers to 
provide appropriate training to miners for installation and 
maintenance. Miners receiving training from manufacturers' 
representatives will, in most cases, provide training for other miners 
who may undertake installation and maintenance duties at the mine. In 
MSHA's experience, many mines use the train-the-trainer model for 
installation and maintenance activities.
    The final rule is changed from the proposal to clarify that the 
proximity detection system must be installed and maintained in proper 
operating condition. A system must operate properly to protect miners 
near the machine. This includes the machine-mounted components and the 
miner-wearable components. Mine operators will be expected to 
demonstrate that a continuous mining machine equipped with a proximity 
detection system in use at their mine is installed and maintained in 
proper operating condition.
    One method a mine operator could use to demonstrate that a 
proximity detection system is operating properly to cause the machine 
to stop before contacting a miner is to suspend a miner-wearable 
component from the mine roof, move the machine towards the suspended 
component, and after the proximity detection system causes the machine 
to stop movement, determine whether the machine would have contacted a 
miner. When making this determination, the position of the miner-
wearable component on the miner and the distance from the closest 
surface of the continuous mining machine to the miner-wearable 
component should be considered. Mine- and machine-specific conditions, 
including steep or slippery roadways, tramming speed of machinery, 
location of the miner-wearable component, and the accuracy of the 
proximity detection system, should also be considered.

C. Sec.  75.1732(c) Proximity Detection System Checks

    Final Sec.  75.1732(c), like the proposal, establishes requirements 
for checking proximity detection systems.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(c)(1) requires that operators designate a 
person to perform a check of machine-mounted components of the 
proximity detection system to verify that components are intact, that 
the system is functioning properly, and take action to correct defects: 
(i) At the beginning of each shift when the machine is to be used; or 
(ii) immediately prior to the time the machine is to be operated if not 
in use at the beginning of a shift; or (iii) within one hour of a shift 
change if the shift change occurs without an interruption in 
production. Final Sec.  75.1732(c)(1), unlike the proposal, does not 
include the word ``visual'' because the check requires verification of 
both the audible and visual warning signals under final Sec.  
75.1732(b)(2).
    A commenter stated that MSHA should require a mine operator to use 
MSHA-approved written examination procedures for this check. This 
commenter also recommended requiring a visual check by the machine 
operator and a certified electrician or qualified mechanic. Another 
commenter, however, stated that a requirement for a check was 
unnecessary. A commenter also stated that MSHA should allow the 
operator to determine how often and when the proximity detection system 
is checked for proper operation. Other commenters stated that the 
machine

[[Page 2196]]

hardware should be checked before each shift.
    After reviewing the comments, MSHA determined that a check of the 
machine-mounted components of a proximity detection system should be 
performed before the continuous mining machine is operated each shift. 
MSHA anticipates that the check will be performed at the same time as 
the existing on-shift dust control parameter check. A check of machine-
mounted components of the proximity detection system is needed to 
verify that components are intact and that the system is functioning 
properly before the machine is operated. For example, some machine-
mounted components may be mounted on the outer surface of a continuous 
mining machine and could be damaged when the machine contacts a rib or 
heavy material falls against the machine. The person designated to 
perform the check will walk around the machine to verify that machine-
mounted components are intact and the system is functioning properly. 
The check will also include observation of appropriate audible and 
visual warning signals. Operators can check that the system is 
functioning properly by approaching the machine with a miner-wearable 
component and observing changes in the system's warning signals as the 
miner-wearable component enters the warning and stop zones.
    MSHA believes that it is unnecessary to require written procedures 
for the check because existing training regulations require that the 
person designated to perform the check be trained to check the system. 
The check supplements the design requirement in final Sec.  
75.1732(b)(4) that prevents movement of the machine if any machine-
mounted component is not functioning properly. The system may not be 
able to detect all types of damage, such as detached field generators, 
which could affect proper function. The check helps assure that 
machine-mounted components are positioned correctly and mounted 
properly on the machine and the system will warn miners and stop 
movement appropriately. Under existing Sec.  48.7, miners who perform 
the required check must receive training in the safety and health 
aspects and safe work procedures of the task.
    In most cases, MSHA anticipates that the trained person designated 
to make the on-shift dust control parameter check, required under 
existing Sec.  75.362(a)(2), will also make the check of the proximity 
detection system. MSHA also anticipates that both checks would be 
performed at the same time. Unlike the examinations and tests required 
under existing Sec.  75.512 for permissible equipment, it is not 
essential to require a person qualified to perform electrical work to 
conduct this check.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(c)(2), like the proposal, requires that 
operators check for proper operation of miner-wearable components at 
the beginning of each shift that the components are to be used and 
correct defects before the components are used.
    Commenters recommended checking the miner-wearable component at the 
beginning of each shift for damage. One commenter recommended checking 
for sufficient power to work for the duration of the shift. A commenter 
stated that defective miner-wearable components should be replaced 
before that person goes underground. A commenter stated that it should 
be up to the mine operator to determine how often and when the miner-
wearable component is checked for proper operation. Another commenter 
stated that the final rule should allow an operator to designate a 
person to check the miner-wearable component.
    After considering comments, MSHA determined that the miner-wearable 
components must be checked for proper operation at the beginning of 
each shift that the component is to be used. This requirement helps 
assure that the miner is protected before getting near a machine. MSHA 
anticipates that each miner equipped with a miner-wearable component 
will check the component to see that it is not damaged and has 
sufficient power. The proximity detection systems that use these 
components can only function properly if the miner-wearable components 
have sufficient power.
    MSHA intends that this check can be similar to the check that a 
miner performs on a cap lamp prior to the beginning of a shift. A mine 
operator, however, could also designate a person to check miner-
wearable components before they are used. Mine operators must provide 
new task training, under 30 CFR part 48, for miners who will be 
checking the miner-wearable components. If any defect is found, the 
final rule requires that it be corrected before the component is used. 
This helps assure that the miner-wearable component functions properly 
and reduces the risk of injuries and fatalities from miners' exposure 
to pinning, crushing, and striking hazards.
    The final rule does not include proposed Sec.  75.1732(c)(3). This 
proposed provision would have required the operator to designate a 
person under MSHA's existing standard for qualified electricians to 
examine proximity detection systems for conformance with the 
performance requirements of this section at least every seven days and 
that defects in the proximity detection system be corrected before the 
machine is returned to service.
    A commenter stated that a trained, qualified maintenance person 
should examine the basic functions of proximity detection systems every 
seven days by checking zone sizes, system communication, and warning 
signals; examine at regular maintenance intervals and for each 
modification to the machine or environment; and perform the examination 
while the machine is not in service. This commenter stated that the 
maintenance person should fully understand how the system works. Other 
commenters stated that the electrical examination should take place on 
a weekly basis at the same time as the other electrical examinations 
required under Sec.  75.512. A commenter also stated that requiring an 
examination each week is not needed.
    After considering comments, MSHA concluded that the examinations of 
proximity detection systems will take place with other electrical 
examinations required under existing Sec.  75.512. MSHA determined that 
the proposed requirement to designate a qualified person under existing 
Sec.  75.153 to examine proximity detection systems at least every 
seven days and correct defects is not necessary because the machine-
mounted components are electric equipment and must be examined, tested, 
and properly maintained under existing Sec.  75.512. The miner-wearable 
components are MSHA-approved intrinsically safe equipment and do not 
need to be examined in accordance with existing Sec.  75.512.
    Existing Sec.  75.512 requires electric equipment to be frequently 
examined, tested, and properly maintained by a qualified person to 
assure safe operating conditions. The examinations and tests required 
under existing Sec.  75.512 must be made at least weekly under existing 
Sec.  75.512-2, and the qualified person performing the examinations 
and tests must meet the requirements to perform electrical work under 
existing Sec.  75.153. Under existing Sec.  75.512, when a potentially 
dangerous condition is found on electric equipment, such equipment must 
be removed from service until such condition is corrected. The on-shift 
check required in final Sec.  75.1732(c)(1) helps assure that proximity 
detection systems function properly between the weekly examinations 
required under existing Sec.  75.512.

[[Page 2197]]

D. Sec.  75.1732(d) Certifications and Records

    Final Sec.  75.1732(d), like the proposal, establishes requirements 
for certifications and records for proximity detection systems.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(d)(1), like the proposal, requires that at the 
completion of the check required under paragraph (c)(1) of this 
section, a certified person under existing Sec.  75.100 certify by 
initials, date, and time that the check was conducted. Defects found as 
a result of the check under paragraph (c)(1) of this section, including 
corrective actions and dates of corrective actions, must be recorded.
    A commenter supported the proposed requirement that the mine 
operator record any defect and corrective action. Another commenter 
recommended that the record of any defect or corrective action be made 
at the end of the shift and kept in a book on the surface. Another 
commenter, however, supported the requirement to certify the check 
required in paragraph (c)(1), but stated there was no safety benefit to 
requiring a record of defects or corrective actions. Other commenters 
indicated that there is no need to require records specifically for 
proximity detection systems and that these records would be a burden.
    The certification in final paragraph (d)(1) helps assure compliance 
and provides miners on the section a means to confirm that the required 
check was made. MSHA anticipates that, in most cases, the person making 
the certification of the on-shift examination under existing Sec.  
75.362(g)(2) will also make the certification of this check at the same 
time.
    The record of defects and corrective actions as a result of the 
check required under final paragraph (c)(1) of this section must be 
made by the completion of the shift, which is consistent with the 
requirements for records of hazardous conditions in existing Sec.  
75.363(b). If no defect is found, no record is needed. The requirement 
in final paragraph (d)(1) of this section requires a record of defects 
and corrective actions. This record can be used to show a history of 
machine-mounted component defects that can alert miners, 
representatives of miners, mine management, manufacturers, and MSHA of 
recurring problems.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(d)(2), like the proposal, requires the operator 
to record defects found as a result of the check of miner-wearable 
components under final paragraph (c)(2) of this section, including 
corrective actions and dates of corrective actions.
    A commenter supported the proposed requirement that the mine 
operator record any defect and corrective action, but also stated that 
the check of the miner-wearable component must be recorded. Another 
commenter stated that the record of any defect or corrective action be 
made at the end of the shift and kept in a book on the surface. A 
commenter also stated there was no safety benefit to requiring a record 
of defects or corrective actions. Other commenters indicated that there 
is no need to require records specifically for proximity detection 
systems and that these records would be a burden.
    The requirement in final Sec.  75.1732(d)(2) provides for a record 
of defects and corrective actions. This record can be used to show a 
history of miner-wearable component defects that can alert miners, 
representatives of miners, mine management, manufacturers, and MSHA of 
recurring problems. For miner-wearable components, no record is needed 
unless a defect is found. A certification of the check for proper 
operation of miner-wearable components that is required under final 
Sec.  75.1732(c)(2) is not necessary because miners can readily check 
to confirm that the component is working.
    The final rule does not include the provisions in proposed Sec.  
75.1732(d)(3). The proposal would have required that: (1) The operator 
make and retain records at the completion of the weekly examination 
under proposed Sec.  75.1732(c)(3); (2) the qualified person conducting 
the examination record and certify by signature and date that the 
examination was conducted; and (3) defects, including corrective 
actions and dates of corrective actions, be recorded.
    A commenter supported the proposed requirement but also stated that 
a maintenance supervisor should be required to countersign the record. 
Another commenter indicated that the electrical examination of 
proximity detection systems should be recorded consistent with the 
recordkeeping requirement under existing Sec.  75.512 and that it would 
be unnecessary and burdensome for this record to include a record of 
defects found and corrective actions. Another commenter stated that 
maintaining separate records for weekly inspections of proximity 
detection systems is redundant to records already being maintained. 
Another commenter stated this requirement would increase the paperwork 
burden on a mine operator.
    After considering the comments, MSHA determined that a separate 
examination under proposed paragraph (c)(3) and existing requirements 
under Sec.  75.512 are redundant. Accordingly, the corresponding record 
requirement under proposed paragraph (d)(3) is not required by the 
final rule. As required under existing Sec.  75.512, electric equipment 
must be frequently examined, tested, and properly maintained by a 
qualified person to assure safe operating conditions; and a record of 
this examination must be kept and made available to an authorized 
representative of the Secretary and to the miners. Consistent with MSHA 
policy, if dangerous conditions and corrective actions are not 
recorded, the records of weekly examinations of electric equipment are 
incomplete.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(d)(3), like proposed Sec.  75.1732(d)(4), 
requires that the operator make and retain records of the persons 
trained in the installation and maintenance of proximity detection 
systems.
    One commenter stated that a record is necessary to assure that the 
person assigned to install and perform maintenance on proximity 
detection systems has been trained. Other commenters stated that this 
requirement would be redundant. One of these commenters stated that it 
would be redundant with existing Sec.  75.159, which requires a list of 
all qualified persons designated to perform duties under part 75. This 
commenter stated that MSHA Form 5000-23 (Certificate of Training) 
includes this information and that, due to this redundancy, the 
requirement in proposed paragraph (d)(4) of this section should not be 
included in the final rule. Other commenters indicated that this 
requirement would be impractical when the installation or maintenance 
is performed by a third party. Another commenter indicated this 
requirement would increase the paperwork burden for a mine operator.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(d)(3) requires the mine operator to make a 
record of persons trained to install and perform maintenance on 
proximity detection systems. MSHA anticipates that many mine operators 
will train qualified persons, as defined by existing Sec.  75.153, to 
install and perform maintenance on proximity detections systems; but, 
the mine operator may train another miner who is not included on the 
list required under existing Sec.  75.159. A mine operator may make the 
record of the persons trained under final paragraph (d)(3) of this 
section using existing MSHA Form 5000-23. Consistent with existing 
practice, mine operators do not need to make and retain records of 
training for proximity detection system manufacturers' employees who 
install or perform maintenance on their systems.

[[Page 2198]]

    Final Sec.  75.1732(d)(4), like proposed Sec.  75.1732(d)(5), 
requires the operator to maintain records in a secure book or 
electronically in a secure computer system not susceptible to 
alteration.
    One commenter supported the proposal. Another commenter stated that 
this requirement should be removed because the underlying recordkeeping 
requirements in proposed paragraph (d) of this section are redundant. 
Another commenter stated that this requirement would create another 
record book for mine operators to maintain and that this would increase 
their paperwork burden.
    The records required under final Sec. Sec.  75.1732(d)(1), (d)(2), 
and (d)(3), if recorded in a book, must be in a book designed to 
prevent the insertion of additional pages or the alteration of 
previously entered information in the record. Based on MSHA's 
experience with other safety and health records, the Agency believes 
that records should be maintained so that they cannot be altered. In 
addition, electronic storage of information and access through 
computers is increasingly a common business practice in the mining 
industry. This provision permits the use of electronically stored 
records provided they are secure, not susceptible to alteration, and 
able to capture the information and signatures required. Care must be 
taken in the use of electronic records to assure that the secure 
computer system will not allow information to be overwritten after 
being entered. MSHA believes that electronic records meeting these 
criteria are practical and as reliable as paper records. MSHA also 
believes that once records are properly completed and reviewed, mine 
management can use them to evaluate whether the same conditions or 
problems, if any, are recurring, and whether corrective measures are 
effective.
    The final rule provides mine operators flexibility to maintain the 
records in a secure book or electronically in a secure computer system 
that they already use to satisfy existing recordkeeping requirements.
    Final Sec.  75.1732(d)(5), like proposed Sec.  75.1732(d)(6), 
requires that the operator retain records for at least one year and 
make them available for inspection by authorized representatives of the 
Secretary and representatives of miners.
    A commenter supported the proposal but stated that hard copies of 
this information must be made available if the lack of computer skills 
would prohibit a miner from viewing this information. Another commenter 
stated that this requirement should be removed because the underlying 
recordkeeping requirements in paragraph (d) of this section are 
redundant with existing requirements. This commenter stated that this 
requirement would increase a mine operator's paperwork burden.
    This provision applies to the records required under final 
Sec. Sec.  75.1732(d)(1), (d)(2), and (d)(3). These records must be 
made available for inspection to representatives of miners and MSHA. 
The operator may provide access electronically or by providing paper 
copies of records. MSHA believes that keeping records for one year 
provides a history of the conditions at the mine to alert miners, 
representatives of miners, mine management, manufacturers, and MSHA of 
recurring problems.

E. New Technology

    The final rule does not include proposed Sec.  75.1732(e) that 
would have addressed technologically advanced proximity detection 
systems because the final rule allows for flexibility in system design. 
The final rule is performance-based and does not require specific 
distances for stopping the machine or for warning miners. Proposed 
Sec.  75.1732(e) would have provided that mine operators or 
manufacturers could apply to MSHA for acceptance of a proximity 
detection system that incorporates new technology.
    A commenter stated that it was unclear whether proposed Sec.  
75.1732(e) refers to approval of a petition for modification or a way 
for MSHA's Approval and Certification Center (A&CC) to approve a 
proximity detection system. A commenter was uncertain as to how this 
provision would apply to manufacturers. Another commenter stated that 
MSHA should clarify the scope of this provision and provide testing 
requirements to assure proximity detection systems are safe and 
effective for their intended use. Commenters stated that MSHA must 
accept new technology if (1) it meets current permissibility 
requirements, (2) performs the same function as already accepted 
systems, or (3) is as safe as the proposed requirements.
    Proposed Sec.  75.1732(e) would have addressed technologically 
advanced proximity detection systems that did not meet the prescriptive 
requirements for causing a machine to stop no closer than 3 feet from a 
miner and for providing an audible or visual warning signal when the 
machine is 5 feet and closer to a miner. Many comments to proposed 
Sec. Sec.  75.1732(b)(1) and (b)(2) stated the Agency should change 
requirements to a performance-based approach. The performance-based 
requirements in this final rule allow for flexibility in system design, 
eliminating the need for the proposed new technology provision.

III. Regulatory Economic Analysis

A. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563: Regulatory Planning and Review

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all 
costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if 
regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize 
net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public 
health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive 
Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and 
benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting 
flexibility. To comply with these Executive Orders, MSHA has prepared a 
Regulatory Economic Analysis (REA) for the final rule. The REA contains 
supporting data and explanation for the summary information presented 
in this preamble, including the covered mining industry, costs and 
benefits, feasibility, small business impacts, and Paperwork Reduction 
Act requirements.
    On April 23, 2014, the State of West Virginia issued a rule 
governing proximity detection systems, effective July 1, 2014. The rule 
requires, among other things, that proximity detection systems be 
installed on place-change continuous mining machines in underground 
sections of coal mines according to a 34-month phase-in schedule. The 
regulatory economic analysis addresses cost and benefit changes to this 
rule due to the West Virginia Rule in Chapter 5, Summary of Adjustments 
for West Virginia Rule.
    The Commonwealth of Virginia issued a memorandum to coal mine 
operators (DM-14-03, August 18, 2014) stating that, effective October 
1, 2014, all remote-control operated continuous mining machines be 
equipped with proximity detection systems or use a designated spotter 
during equipment moves.
    MSHA anticipates that mine operators in the Commonwealth of 
Virginia would opt to use a designated spotter instead of incurring the 
expense of installing proximity detection systems on continuous mining 
machines. The Agency estimates that the cost of diverting resources to 
assure that there is a designated spotter for those continuous mining 
machines during equipment moves would be de minimis. MSHA does not 
address Virginia's memorandum in the regulatory

[[Page 2199]]

economic analysis (REA) because it does not affect the impact of the 
final rule.
    MSHA received comments on the preliminary regulatory economic 
analysis and those comments are addressed in the REA. The REA can be 
accessed electronically at http://www.msha.gov/REGSINF5.HTM or http://www.regulations.gov. A copy of the REA can be obtained from MSHA's 
Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances at the address in the 
Availability of Information section of this preamble.
    Under E.O. 12866, a significant regulatory action meets at least 
one of the following conditions: Having an annual effect on the economy 
of $100 million or more, creating a serious inconsistency or 
interfering with an action of another agency, materially altering the 
budgetary impact of entitlements or the rights of entitlement 
recipients, or raising novel legal or policy issues. The Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that this final rule would 
be a significant regulatory action because it raises novel legal or 
policy issues.

B. Population at Risk

    The final rule applies to all underground coal mines in the United 
States. In 2013, there were approximately 326 active underground coal 
mines using continuous mining machines employing approximately 42,314 
miners (excluding office workers).

C. Net Benefits

    Under the Mine Act, MSHA is not required to use estimated net 
benefits as the basis for its decision. At a 7 percent discount rate 
over 10 years, the estimated annualized values for net benefits of this 
rule after adjusting for West Virginia are $1.3 million; benefits are 
$6.0 million and costs are $4.7 million. At a 3 percent discount rate 
over 10 years, the estimated annualized values for net benefits of this 
rule after adjusting for West Virginia are $1.8 million; benefits are 
$6.5 million and annualized costs are $4.7 million.
    MSHA anticipates several benefits from the final rule that were not 
quantified due to a lack of definitive information. For example, MSHA 
anticipates that the final rule will result in additional savings to 
mine operators by avoiding the production delays typically associated 
with mine accidents. Pinning, crushing, or striking accidents can 
disrupt production at a mine during the time it takes to remove the 
injured miner, investigate the cause of the accident, and clear the 
accident site. Such delays can last for a shift or more. Factors such 
as lost wages, delayed production, and other miscellaneous expenses, 
could result in significant costs; however, MSHA has not quantified 
these savings due to a lack of specific information. The monetized 
benefits and costs are explained further in sections D and E.

D. Benefits

    The final rule will significantly improve safety protections for 
underground coal miners by reducing their risk of being crushed, 
pinned, or struck by continuous mining machines.
    MSHA reviewed the Agency's investigation reports for all continuous 
mining machine accidents that occurred from 1984 through 2013 and 
determined that the use of proximity detection systems could have 
prevented 34 fatalities and 238 nonfatal injuries involving pinning, 
crushing, or striking accidents with continuous mining machines. From 
2010 through 2013, six underground coal miners working in close 
proximity to continuous mining machines died from pinning, crushing, or 
striking accidents. MSHA's review concluded that the latest 15 years of 
data was the most appropriate data to project the number of incidents 
over the next 10 years. Based on the data, MSHA projects that the rule 
will prevent approximately 49 injuries and 9 deaths over the next 10 
years.
    To estimate the monetary values of the reductions in deaths and 
nonfatal injuries, MSHA uses an analysis of the imputed values based on 
a Willingness-to-Pay approach. This approach relies on the theory of 
compensating wage differentials (i.e., the wage premiums paid to 
workers to accept the risk associated with various jobs) in the labor 
market. A number of studies have shown a correlation between higher job 
risk and higher wages, suggesting that employees demand monetary 
compensation in return for incurring greater risk. The benefit of 
preventing a fatality is measured by what is conventionally called the 
Value of a Statistical Life (VSL), defined as the additional cost that 
individuals would be willing to bear for improvements in safety (that 
is, reductions in risks) that, in the aggregate, reduce the expected 
number of fatalities by one.
    Under the proposed rule, the value of deaths and injuries prevented 
were based on a 2003 meta-analysis by Viscusi & Aldy. Viscusi and Aldy 
did an analysis of several studies that use a Willingness-to-Pay 
methodology to estimate the imputed value of life-saving programs. 
Updating the 2003 values for inflation yields an estimate in 2013 
dollars of $8.7 million for each fatality prevented and $65,000 for 
each nonfatal injury prevented for the lowest estimate.
    For the final rule, MSHA revised the Agency's approach for 
monetizing the value of fatalities prevented to provide a range of 
VSLs. The regulatory economic analysis provides more detail; but, in 
summary, MSHA estimated three alternatives for VSL.
    Low Benefit Estimate: The low estimate of $8.7 million is from the 
2003 Viscusi and Aldy estimate used in the proposed rule. However, this 
estimate does not include adjustments for real income changes.
    Primary Benefit Estimate: MSHA used a primary estimate of $9.2 
million that is based on the new research and guidance by the 
Department of Transportation (DOT). MSHA reviewed DOT's findings and 
adjusted the VSL for real income growth. With the adjustment, the VSL 
reaches approximately $10 million in the 10th year.
    High Benefit Estimate: MSHA used a high estimate of $11.1 million 
based on Viscusi's 2013 article that emphasizes, when possible, that 
labor characteristics should be used to develop VSLs. The 2013 article 
includes information that mining has one of the highest fatality rates 
and that estimates should capture industry or occupation specific 
information. As in the primary estimate, MSHA also applied the real 
income growth each year to generate VSLs for the 10 years after the 
final rule is effective. This provides a final value after 10 years of 
approximately $12 million.
    More detailed information about how MSHA estimated the primary 
benefits and alternate benefits estimates are available in the REA 
supporting this final rule.

E. Compliance Costs

    MSHA estimated costs of the final rule based on the analysis of the 
most likely actions that operators will need to take to comply with the 
final rule. MSHA estimates that proximity detection systems purchases 
and installations in underground coal mines will occur over 3 years 
with 20 percent installed in the first year the rule is in effect, an 
additional 40 percent installed in the second year, and the remaining 
40 percent installed in the third year. MSHA estimates a useful life of 
10 years for all machine-mounted components of proximity detection 
systems and 5 years for miner-wearable components.
    MSHA estimates that, after adjusting for the West Virginia Rule, 
the total undiscounted cost of the final rule over a 10-year period is 
$46.7 million, $41.3

[[Page 2200]]

million at a 3 percent rate, and $35.7 million at a 7 percent rate. The 
corresponding values annualized over 10 years are $4.7 million 
(undiscounted), $4.7 million (3 percent), and $4.7 million (7 percent).

IV. Feasibility

    The requirements of the final rule are both technologically and 
economically feasible.

A. Technological Feasibility

    The final rule is technologically feasible. The final rule is not 
technology-forcing and does not involve new scientific or engineering 
knowledge. The technology necessary to meet the requirements of the 
final rule already exists, is commercially available, and is in use in 
underground coal mines. By allowing mine operators to phase in the 
installation of proximity detection systems over a 36-month period, the 
final rule provides coal mine operators sufficient time to obtain 
necessary modification to the existing technology, obtain necessary 
approvals, install proximity detection systems on continuous mining 
machines, and train miners.

B. Economic Feasibility

    MSHA has traditionally used a revenue screening test--whether the 
estimated compliance costs of a standard are less than one percent of 
revenues, or are negative (e.g., provide net cost savings) to establish 
presumptively that compliance with the standard is economically 
feasible for the mining industry. Based on this test, MSHA has 
concluded that the requirements of the final rule are economically 
feasible.
    The estimated annualized compliance cost to underground coal mine 
operators is $4.7 million. This represents less than one-tenth of one 
percent of total annual revenue of $23.1 billion ($4.7 million costs/
$23.1 billion revenue) for all underground coal mines. Since the 
estimated annualized compliance cost is below one percent of estimated 
annual revenue, MSHA concludes that the final rule is economically 
feasible for the underground coal industry.

V. Regulatory Flexibility Act and Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 
Fairness Act

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) of 1980, as amended by 
the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), MSHA 
has analyzed the compliance cost impact of the final rule on small 
entities. Based on that analysis, MSHA certifies that the final rule 
will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities. The factual basis for this certification is presented 
in Chapter 7, Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, of the REA and is 
summarized below.

A. Definition of a Small Mine

    Under the RFA, in analyzing the impact of a rule on small entities, 
MSHA must use the Small Business Administration's (SBA's) definition 
for a small entity or, after consultation with the SBA Office of 
Advocacy, establish an alternative definition for the mining industry 
by publishing that definition in the Federal Register for notice and 
comment. Because the Agency has not established an alternative 
definition, MSHA is required to use SBA's definition. The SBA defines a 
small entity in the mining industry as an establishment with 500 or 
fewer employees.
    MSHA has also examined the impact of the final rule on mines with 
fewer than 20 employees, which MSHA and the mining community have 
traditionally referred to as small mines. These small mines differ from 
larger mines not only in the number of employees, but also in economies 
of scale in material produced, in the type and amount of production 
equipment, and in supply inventory. Therefore, their costs of complying 
with MSHA's rules and the impact of the Agency's rules on them will 
also tend to be different.
    This analysis complies with the requirements of the RFA for an 
analysis of the impact on ``small entities'' while continuing MSHA's 
traditional definition of ``small mines.''

B. Factual Basis for Certification

    MSHA's analysis of the economic impact on small entities begins 
with a screening analysis. The screening compares the estimated yearly 
costs of the final rule for small entities to their estimated annual 
revenue. When estimated costs are less than one percent of estimated 
revenues for small entities, MSHA believes it is generally appropriate 
to conclude that the final rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. If the estimated cost 
is equal to or exceeds one percent of revenue, MSHA investigates 
whether further analysis is required.

C. Derivation of Revenues and Costs for Mines

    MSHA calculated the revenue for underground coal mines from data on 
coal prices and production. The average open market U.S. sales price of 
underground coal for 2013 was $67.56 per ton (estimated from Department 
of Energy (DOE), Energy Information Administration (EIA), Annual Coal 
Report 2012, December 2013, pg. 48, adjusted by the 2013 GDP deflator 
from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)).
    For mines excluding West Virginia, with 1-19 employees, 2013 
underground coal revenue was $112 million (1.7 million tons x $67.56 
per ton). For mines with 1-500 employees, 2013 underground coal revenue 
was $12 billion (175.4 million tons x $67.56 per ton). Total 2013 
underground coal revenue, excluding West Virginia, was $17.5 billion. 
The 2013 total underground coal revenue including West Virginia was 
$23.1 billion.

D. Screening Analysis for Underground Coal Mines

    The estimated annualized cost of the final rule for underground 
coal mines with 1-19 employees is approximately $0.5 million, which 
represents approximately 0.5 percent of annual revenues.
    When applying SBA's definition of a small mine, the estimated 
annualized cost of the final rule for underground coal mines with 1-500 
employees, excluding West Virginia, is approximately $4.1 million, 
which represents less than one-tenth of one percent of annual revenue.
    Table 1 shows MSHA's estimate of the annualized cost of the final 
rule compared to mine revenue, by mine size. MSHA has provided, in the 
REA accompanying this final rule, a complete analysis of the cost 
impact.

[[Page 2201]]



                Table 1--Cost of Final Rule Compared to Mine Revenues for Underground Coal Mines (Excluding West Virginia), by Mine Size
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                          Cost of  final
                                                                       Number of     Annualized cost    Annual revenues     Annual cost       rule as
                       Mine size (employees)                             Mines      of final rule (in    (in millions)       per mine       percent of
                                                                                        millions)                                            revenues
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1-19..............................................................              45               $0.5               $112         $11,111             0.5
1-500.............................................................             209                4.1             11,848          19,617            <0.1
All Mines.........................................................             220                4.7             17,518          21,364            <0.1
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Based on this analysis, MSHA has determined that the final rule 
will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small underground coal mines.

VI. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

A. Summary

    The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) provides for the Federal 
government's collection, use, and dissemination of information. The 
goals of the PRA include minimizing paperwork and reporting burdens and 
ensuring the maximum possible utility from the information that is 
collected (44 U.S.C. 3501). The information collections contained in 
this final rule are submitted for review under the PRA to OMB, Control 
Number 1219-0148. The final rule contains minor adjustments to burden 
hours for an existing paperwork package with OMB Control Number 1219-
0066. MSHA does not include estimated burden hours and the cost of 
revising training plans on an annual basis because this burden is 
accounted for under the OMB Control Number 1219-0009. Underground coal 
mine operators routinely revise their training plan at least yearly in 
accordance with 30 CFR part 48.
    MSHA estimates that in the first 3 years the final rule is in 
effect, the mining community will incur 1,182 annual burden hours with 
related annual burden hour costs of approximately $115,952 and other 
annual costs related to the information collection of approximately 
$22,359. A detailed explanation of the burden hours and related costs 
are in the Paperwork Reduction Act section of the REA for this final 
rule.

B. Procedural Details

    The information collection package for this final rule was 
submitted to OMB for review under 44 U.S.C. 3504, paragraph (h) of the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, as amended. MSHA requested comment on 
its estimates for information collection requirements in the proposal 
and responded to these comments earlier in the preamble and in the REA.
    The regulated community is not required to respond to any 
collection of information unless it displays a current, valid, OMB 
control number. (See 5 CFR 1320.5(a) and 1320.6.) MSHA displays the OMB 
control numbers for the information collection requirements in its 
regulations in 30 CFR part 3. The total information collection burden 
is summarized as follows:
     Title of Collection: Testing, Evaluation, and Approval of 
Mining Products. OMB Control Number: 1219-0066.
     Title of Collection: Training Plans and Records of 
Training, for Underground Miners and Miners Working at Surface Mines 
and Surface Areas of Underground Mines. OMB Control Number: 1219-0009.
     Title of Collection: Proximity Detection Systems for 
Continuous Mining Machines in Underground Coal Mines. OMB Control 
Number: 1219-0148.

                  Table 2--Summary Crosswalk of Rule, REA Cost Analysis, and OMB Control Number
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                   Other annual
                Collection burden                     OMB No.     Annual  burden   Annual burden     costs to
                                                                       hours        hours cost      respondents
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sec.   75.1732(a)...............................       1219-0066             189         $18,824         $22,359
Sec.   75.1732(d)(1)............................       1219-0148             958          95,417               0
Sec.   75.1732(d)(2)............................       1219-0148              33           1,654               0
Sec.   75.1732(d)(3)............................       1219-0148               2              57               0
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................  ..............           1,182         115,952          22,359
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Affected Public: Private Sector Businesses or Other For-Profit 
Businesses.
    Estimated Number of Respondents: 109.
    Estimated Number of Responses: 315,333.
    Estimated Number of Burden Hours: 1,182.
    Estimated Hour Burden Costs: $115,952.
    Estimated Annual Burden Costs (non-hours) Related to the 
Information Collection Package: $22,359.
    MSHA received comments on the information collection requirements 
contained in the proposed rule. The comments are addressed in the 
applicable sections of Section II, the Section-by-Section Analysis of 
this preamble, and in the Supporting Statement for the information 
collection requirements accompanying this final rule. The Information 
Collection Supporting Statement is available at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain, on MSHA's Web site at http://www.msha.gov/regspwork.htm, and at http://www.regulations.gov. A copy of the 
Supporting Statement is also available from MSHA by request to Sheila 
McConnell at [email protected], by phone request to 202-693-
9440, or by facsimile to 202-693-9441.

VII. Other Regulatory Considerations

A. The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    MSHA has reviewed the final rule under the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.). MSHA has determined that the final

[[Page 2202]]

rule does not include any federal mandate that may result in increased 
expenditures by State, local, or tribal governments; nor does it 
increase private sector expenditures by more than $100 million 
(adjusted for inflation) in any one year or significantly or uniquely 
affect small governments. Accordingly, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 
of 1995 requires no further Agency action or analysis.

B. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    The final rule does not have ``federalism implications'' because it 
does not ``have substantial direct effects on the States, on the 
relationship between the national government and the States, or on the 
distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of 
government.'' Accordingly, under E.O. 13132, no further Agency action 
or analysis is required.

C. The Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 1999: 
Assessment of Federal Regulations and Policies on Families

    Section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations 
Act of 1999 (5 U.S.C. 601 note) requires agencies to assess the impact 
of Agency action on family well-being. MSHA has determined that the 
final rule has no effect on family stability or safety, marital 
commitment, parental rights and authority, or income or poverty of 
families and children. Accordingly, MSHA certifies that this final rule 
does not impact family well-being.

D. Executive Order 12630: Government Actions and Interference With 
Constitutionally Protected Property Rights

    The final rule does not implement a policy with takings 
implications. Accordingly, under E.O. 12630, no further Agency action 
or analysis is required.

E. Executive Order 12988: Civil Justice Reform

    The final rule is written to provide a clear legal standard for 
affected conduct and was carefully reviewed to eliminate drafting 
errors and ambiguities, so as to minimize litigation and undue burden 
on the Federal court system. Accordingly, the final rule would meet the 
applicable standards provided in section 3 of E.O. 12988, Civil Justice 
Reform.

F. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental 
Health Risks and Safety Risks

    The final rule does not adversely impact children. Accordingly, 
under E.O. 13045, no further Agency action or analysis is required.

G. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian 
Tribal Governments

    This final rule does not have ``tribal implications'' because it 
does not ``have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian 
tribes, on the relationship between the Federal government and Indian 
tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between 
the Federal government and Indian tribes.'' Accordingly, under E.O. 
13175, no further Agency action or analysis is required.

H. Executive Order 13211: Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

    Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to publish a statement of 
energy effects when a rule has a significant energy action that 
adversely affects energy supply, distribution or use. MSHA has reviewed 
this final rule for its energy effects because the final rule applies 
to the underground coal mining sector. Because this final rule results 
in annualized costs of approximately $4.7 million to the underground 
coal mining industry, relative to annual revenues of $23.1 billion in 
2013, MSHA has concluded that it would not be a significant energy 
action because it is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on 
the supply, distribution, or use of energy. Accordingly, under this 
analysis, no further Agency action or analysis is required.

I. Executive Order 13272: Proper Consideration of Small Entities in 
Agency Rulemaking

    MSHA has reviewed the final rule to assess and take appropriate 
account of its potential impact on small businesses, small governmental 
jurisdictions, and small organizations. MSHA has determined and 
certified that the final rule does not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities.

List of Subjects in 30 CFR Part 75

    Mine safety and health, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 
Underground coal mines.

    Dated: January 8, 2015.
Joseph A. Main,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble and under the authority of 
the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, as amended, chapter I 
of title 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

PART 75--MANDATORY SAFETY STANDARDS--UNDERGROUND COAL MINES

0
1. The authority citation for part 75 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  30 U.S.C. 811, 813(h), 957.


0
2. Add Sec.  75.1732 to subpart R to read as follows:


Sec.  75.1732  Proximity detection systems.

    Operators must install proximity detection systems on certain 
mobile machines.
    (a) Machines covered. Operators must equip continuous mining 
machines, except full-face continuous mining machines, with proximity 
detection systems by the following dates. For proximity detection 
systems with miner-wearable components, the mine operator must provide 
a miner-wearable component to be worn by each miner on the working 
section by the following dates.
    (1) Continuous mining machines manufactured after March 16, 2015 
must meet the requirements in this section no later than November 16, 
2015. These machines must meet the requirements in this section when 
placed in service with a proximity detection system.
    (2) Continuous mining machines manufactured and equipped with a 
proximity detection system on or before March 16, 2015 must meet the 
requirements in this section no later than September 16, 2016.
    (3) Continuous mining machines manufactured and not equipped with a 
proximity detection system on or before March 16, 2015 must meet the 
requirements in this section no later than March 16, 2018. These 
machines must meet the requirements in this section when placed in 
service with a proximity detection system.
    (b) Requirements for a proximity detection system. A proximity 
detection system includes machine-mounted components and miner-wearable 
components. The system must:
    (1) Cause a machine, which is tramming from place-to-place or 
repositioning, to stop before contacting a miner except for a miner who 
is in the on-board operator's compartment;

[[Page 2203]]

    (2) Provide an audible and visual warning signal on the miner-
wearable component and a visual warning signal on the machine that 
alert miners before the system causes a machine to stop. These warning 
signals must be distinguishable from other signals;
    (3) Provide a visual signal on the machine that indicates the 
machine-mounted components are functioning properly;
    (4) Prevent movement of the machine if any machine-mounted 
component of the system is not functioning properly. However, a system 
with any machine-mounted component that is not functioning properly may 
allow machine movement if it provides an audible or visual warning 
signal, distinguishable from other signals, during movement. Such 
movement is permitted only for purposes of relocating the machine from 
an unsafe location for repair;
    (5) Be installed to prevent interference that adversely affects 
performance of any electrical system; and
    (6) Be installed and maintained in proper operating condition by a 
person trained in the installation and maintenance of the system.
    (c) Proximity detection system checks. Operators must:
    (1) Designate a person who must perform a check of machine-mounted 
components of the proximity detection system to verify that components 
are intact, that the system is functioning properly, and take action to 
correct defects--
    (i) At the beginning of each shift when the machine is to be used; 
or
    (ii) Immediately prior to the time the machine is to be operated if 
not in use at the beginning of a shift; or
    (iii) Within 1 hour of a shift change if the shift change occurs 
without an interruption in production.
    (2) Check for proper operation of miner-wearable components at the 
beginning of each shift that the components are to be used and correct 
defects before the components are used.
    (d) Certifications and records. The operator must make and retain 
certifications and records as follows:
    (1) At the completion of the check of machine-mounted components 
required under paragraph (c)(1) of this section, a certified person 
under Sec.  75.100 must certify by initials, date, and time that the 
check was conducted. Defects found as a result of the check, including 
corrective actions and dates of corrective actions, must be recorded 
before the end of the shift;
    (2) Make a record of the defects found as a result of the check of 
miner-wearable components required under paragraph (c)(2) of this 
section, including corrective actions and dates of corrective actions;
    (3) Make a record of the persons trained in the installation and 
maintenance of proximity detection systems required under paragraph 
(b)(6) of this section;
    (4) Maintain records in a secure book or electronically in a secure 
computer system not susceptible to alteration; and
    (5) Retain records for at least one year and make them available 
for inspection by authorized representatives of the Secretary and 
representatives of miners.

[FR Doc. 2015-00319 Filed 1-13-15; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 4510-43-P