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U.S. Department of Labor          

Mine Safety and Health Administration
1100 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22209-3939                    

EFFECTIVE DATE:  March 23, 2003 EXPIRATION DATE:  03/31/2008
(Reissue of I03- V-7)                      


                       Administrator for
                            for Coal Mine Safety and Health

SUBJECT:      Annual Review of Approved SCSR Storage Plans, Annual Survey of
                         Self-Rescue Devices and Investigating and Reporting Problems with
                         Self-Rescue Devices

This Procedure Instruction Letter (PIL) applies to all Coal Mine Safety and Health (CMS&H) compliance personnel. Furthermore, this guidance has even greater significance due to the increased numbers of SCSR and storage caches required by the March 9, 2006 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on Emergency Mine Evacuation (71 FR 12252).

The purpose of reissuing this procedure instruction letter is to continue guidance for district personnel responsible for: reviewing self-contained self-rescuer (SCSR) storage plans; conducting annual surveys of self-rescue devices; and investigating and reporting problems with self-rescue (SR) devices. This will help ensure the self-rescue devices provided for use at a mine-site are used, located, inspected and maintained in accordance with the regulations.

In May 2003, the Mine Safety and Health Administration's (MSHA) procedures for the inspection of self-rescue devices were reapportioned from MSHA Handbook Number PH00-V-11, Coal Self-Rescuer Inspection Procedures Handbook (Self-Rescuer Handbook) to a series of locations more appropriate to the subject matter. This initial handbook was originally released in October 2000, in response to recommendations from the Office of the Inspector General upon completion of an MSHA requested review of a procurement contract and recall of certain SCSR devices. The incorporated items were subsequently determined to be more properly placed in the general inspection procedures document along with administrative instructions.

This PIL reflects the new locations of the self-rescuer inspection procedures of the Self-Rescuer Handbook into Coal Mine Safety and Health's (CMS&H) General Inspection Procedures Handbook and other accompanying SCSR directives. All of MSHA's required inspection activities will continue to be maintained through the implementation of this PIL and other directives in place of the Self-Rescuer Handbook. The integration of the provisions of the Self-Rescuer Handbook into other MSHA directives remains as set forth in the attachment.

Procedure Instruction
Annual Review of Approved SCSR Storage Plans - Each CMS&H District with underground coal mines that have an MSHA-approved SCSR storage plan, allowing miners to be further than 25 feet from their 1-hour SCSR devices, were required to implement Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) for conducting a review of every MSHA-approved SCSR storage plan during each 12-month fiscal year period. When necessary, clarification and guidance will be provided by Headquarters. This review should incorporate a mine visit by the reviewer or consultation with the assigned inspector to verify the approved plan parameters.

The person conducting the annual SCSR plans review must determine if there have been any significant changes to the in-mine conditions or the mining process which impact the criteria used by the district in granting approval of the mine operator's SCSR storage plan. In making this determination, the person conducting the review must evaluate:

    1) the 11 factors outlined in 30 C.F.R. § 75.1714-2(e)(1)(i) through (xi);
    2) the SCSR Storage Plan Approval Guidelines in Volume V of the MSHA Program Policy Manual;
    3) MSHA Form 2000-220;
    4) whether commingling of different types of SCSR's will be permitted and if so, the means for ensuring that all miners are satisfactorily trained on each device;
    5) any changes that have been made to the MSHA SCSR Storage Plan Approval Guidelines since the plan was approved or last reviewed: and,
    6) if a separate outby SCSR storage plan is required by the March 9, 2006, Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS).
If the annual review of the approved SCSR storage plan identifies deficiencies, the district must make changes to the approved plan according to the guidelines contained in MSHA's Program Policy Manual (PPM), Volume V, Coal Mines, Interpretation, Application and Guidelines on Enforcement of 30 CFR, General Policies and Programs, V.G-4 Mine Plan Approval Procedures and/or the ETS.

The district procedures must include adequate documentation to ensure that each approved SCSR storage plan is reviewed by the district at no more than a 12-month interval. As a minimum, this documentation should include:
    1) the mine name;
    2) mine ID number;
    3) name of the person(s) who conducted the review;
    4) date(s)the review was conducted; and
    5) any identified deficiencies that would necessitate a revision to the approved plan. A copy of this documentation must be filed with the official copy of the approved SCSR storage plan and in the Uniform Mine File.
Annual Survey of Self-Rescue Devices - Each CMS&H District was required to develop SOP's for conducting annual surveys at each underground coal mine to collect information to be used to assess:
    1) the type and quantity of self-rescue devices deployed in the coal mining industry; and
    2) any mine conditions that may impact the ability of miners to escape a mine in the event of an emergency.
The type and quantity of self-rescue devices information should be obtained from the operator pursuant to his regulatory requirements under 30 C.F.R. § 75.1714-3(e).

The annual survey period is not critical to the relevance of the data collected. Accordingly, each district should develop its own schedule for the data collection and may stagger the collection for individual mines as long as each mine is on an annual schedule to be completed by the end of each fiscal year. Results of the survey should be recorded on MSHA Form 2000-220, attached, including instructions. Care should be taken to ensure that the information on the completed form and data sheet is legible, accurate, and complete. Each district should have implemented procedures for transmitting the appropriate information from the Self-Rescuer Survey Form, to the District Self-Rescuer survey database at least each quarter, and no later than 15 days following the end of each quarter. The SR survey database is located on the W: \Coal \Special Projects drive. New mines or closed mines should be surveyed or deleted at the time of status change and the information uploaded. A copy of the completed Self-Rescuer Survey Form for each underground coal mine should be filed in the appropriate mine file. The implementation of the March 9, 2006, ETS will necessitate significant changes to relevant data at each mine. Consequently, the accurate completion of MSHA Form 2000-220 annually for every underground coal mine throughout implementation of the change is vitally important to any evaluation of a final rule as related to the use, storage, maintenance, and record keeping of the SCSR units. Investigating and Reporting Problems with Self-Rescue Devices - Each CMS&H District was required to develop SOP's to provide reasonable assurance that each reported incident involving the use of a self-rescue device is thoroughly investigated.

As a minimum, these procedures should include the process the district will follow in:
    1) investigating reported incidents involving the adequacy of self-rescue devices;
    2) training enforcement personnel to ensure the inspectors understand the procedures and know what is expected; and
    3) reporting serious incidents.
Incidents involving the following events are considered significant and should be reported to the Division of Safety at (202) 693-9527, or Technical Support at
(202) 693-9473, as soon as practicable:
    1) An injury to a miner while using a self-rescue device;
    2) Failure of a self-rescue device to perform as designed; and
    3) An incident that resulted in a need for a miner(s) to don a self-rescue device to escape to a safe location. Item 3 applies even if there were no reported injuries and the self-rescue devices performed as designed.
Section 101(b) and Section 317(n) of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, 30 U.S.C., 801(b), 877(n).

Filing Instructions
This letter should be filed behind the tab marked "Procedure Instruction Letters" in the binder entitled Program Handbooks and Procedure Instruction Letters.

Issuing Office and Person
Coal Mine Safety and Health, Division of Safety
Terry L. Bentley, Chief, Division of Safety, (202) 693-9521

Contact Office and Persons
Coal Mine Safety and Health, Division of Safety
Monty Christo, (202) 693-9527

PPM Holders within Coal Mine Safety and Health and Technical Support


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