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February 16, 2007    DOL Home > Newsroom > News Releases   

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MSHA News Release: [02/07/2006]
Contact Name: Dirk Fillpot
Phone Number: (202) 693-4676
Release Number: 06-0242-ATL

MSHA Pursues New Mine Evacuation Rules

Special Rulemaking Action Used Only Twice Before

Washington, D.C. — David G. Dye, acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, today announced that the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is pursuing a rarely-used emergency temporary standard to better protect miners and help them safely evacuate a mine during an emergency. The emergency temporary standard rulemaking process has been used only twice before by MSHA.

“This emergency rulemaking will require the use of proven technologies and techniques to help miners evacuate quickly and safely after a mine accident,” Dye said. “We are using the emergency temporary standard to get help into the field as fast as possible. MSHA is moving forward on every front to better protect miners’ safety and health.”

MSHA’s emergency temporary standard would strengthen mine safety practices in four key areas: training, accident notification requirements for mine operators, self-contained self rescue devices (SCSRs) and lifelines. The emergency temporary standard would make the following health and safety enhancements:

  • Self-Contained Self Rescue Devices: MSHA would require mine operators to maintain additional SCSRs for each miner underground in a storage area and would require that they be readily accessible for miners in the event of an emergency.
  • Lifelines: MSHA would require mine operators to install lifelines in all primary and alternate escape routes out of the mine. Lifelines help guide miners in poor visibility conditions toward evacuation routes.
  • Training: MSHA would require operators to conduct training for miners in how to transfer from one SCSR to another. This training would be reinforced during mine emergency evacuation drills held on a quarterly basis.
  • Accident Notification: MSHA would further define what constitutes “immediately contact” after an accident, to require mine operators to inform MSHA of an accident within 15 minutes of its occurrence.

This is only the third time since 1978 that MSHA has pursued an emergency temporary standard. An emergency temporary standard takes effect immediately upon its publication in the Federal Register. Once MSHA’s emergency temporary standard is in final form, a publication date can then be determined. For more information about MSHA, visit

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