MSHA Issues Guidelines for Industry Compliance with Ventilation Regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration today announced the release of four new program information bulletins pertaining to ventilation issues in underground coal mines. Mine Safety and Health Administration made the announcement in a press release on Monday "as a result of troubling testimony heard in a recent field hearing regarding the explosion of Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine."

The purpose of these PIBs is to remind mine operators, miners' representatives, MSHA enforcement personnel and other interested parties about mandatory coal mine safety standards relative to inadequate ventilation, intentional changes in the mine's ventilation system, maintaining face ventilation control devices, and maintaining methane monitors in permissible and proper operating condition for mining equipment.

"This announcement serves to remind all mine operators of their obligation to comply with all federal regulations to ensure the health and safety of their employees," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Failure to follow the ventilation standards can lead to illness, injury and death. These standards are not voluntary, and every mine operator in the country is on notice that MSHA will not tolerate violations of ventilation standards."