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AMERICAN COAL MINE SAFETY. Methane Regulations and Other Issues By Jeff Watkins, President Hill & Associates, Inc. 222 Severn Ave. Annapolis, MD USA www.hillandassoc.com. HISTORY OF MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH LEGISLATION 1891 LAW Limited Jurisdiction – only applied in US Territories.

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American coal mine safety

AMERICAN COAL MINE SAFETY

Methane Regulations and Other Issues

By

Jeff Watkins, President

Hill & Associates, Inc.

222 Severn Ave.

Annapolis, MD USA

www.hillandassoc.com


HISTORY OF MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH LEGISLATION

1891 LAW

Limited Jurisdiction – only applied in US Territories.

Established minimum ventilation requirements in underground coal mines.

Prohibited operators from employing children under 12 years of age.

1900–1910 : COAL MINE FATALITIES EXCEEDED 2,000 ANNUALLY

1910 : BUREAU OF MINES ESTABLISHED (BOM)

Charged with responsibility to conduct research and to reduce accidents in the coal mining industry.

No inspection authority.

1941 : BUREAU OF MINES GIVEN INSPECTION AUTHORITY

1947 : US CONGRESS AUTHORIZED THE FORMULATION OF THE FIRST CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS FOR MINE SAFETY


1952 : FEDERAL COAL MINE SAFETY ACT OF 1952

Provided for annual inspection in certain underground coal mines.

Gave BOM limited enforcement authority including:

power to issue violation notices

issue imminent danger withdrawal orders

Authorized assessment of civil penalties for:

noncompliance with withdrawal orders

refusing to give inspectors access to mine property

No provision was made for monetary penalties for noncompliance with safety provisions

1966 : MINE SAFETY ACT OF 1952 EXTENDED TO ALL UNDERGROUND COAL MINES

1968 : NOVEMVER 20, 1968 AN EXPLOSION AT THE CONSOL #9 MINE AT FARMINGTON, WEST VIRGINIA RESULTS IN 78 FATALITIES


1969 : FEDERAL COAL MINE HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT OF 1969

Included surface as well as underground mines.

Required two annual inspections of all surface mines and four annual inspections of underground mines.

Dramatically increased federal enforcement powers in coal mines

Required monetary penalties for all violations.

Established criminal penalties for knowing and willful violations.

Safety standard for all coal mines were strengthened and health standards were adopted.

Included specific procedures for the development of improved mandatory health and safety standards.

Provided compensation for miners who were totally and permanently disabled by black lung.

1973 : MINING ENFORCEMENT AND SAFETY ADMINISTRATION (MESA) CREATED

Assumed the safety and health enforcement functions formerly carried out by the BOM

1977 : FEDERAL MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT OF 1977

Consolidated all federal health and safety laws (coal and non-coal) under single statutory scheme.

Expanded rights of miners and enhanced protection of miners from retaliation for exercising rights.

Transferred responsibility to Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) under Department of Labor.

Established Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission to provide independent review of the majority ot MSHA’s enforcement actions.


METHANE EXAMINATIONS

METHANE MONITORS SHALL BE APPROVED BY MSHA, MAINTAINED IN PERMISSIBLE AND PROPER OPERATING CONDITION, AND CALIBRATED WITH A KNOWN METHANE-AIR MIXTURE AT LEAST ONCE EVERY 31 DAYS

PRESHIFT EXAMINATION

Within 3 hours preceding the beginning of any 8-hour interval during which any person is scheduled to work or travel underground.

ON-SHIFT EXAMINATION

At least once per shift in any area where mechanized mining equipment is being installed or removed.

Along each belt conveyor haulageway where a belt is being operated during each shift that coal is being produced.

At the start of each shift at each working place before electrically operated equipment is energized.

Immediately before equipment is energized, taken into, or operated in a working place.

Intervals of not more than 20 minutes, unless more frequent examination is required by the approved ventilation plan.

METHANE MONITORS ON FACE EQUIPMENT

MSHA approved methane monitors shall be installed on all face cutting machines, continuous miners, longwall face equipment, loading machines, and other mechanized equipment used to extract or load coal within the working place


ACTIONS FOR EXCESSIVE METHANE

WORKING PLACES AND INTAKE AIR COURSES

Over 1.0%

Electrically powered equipment will be deenergized and other mechanical equipment shut off

Adjustments will be made to the ventilation system to reduce the methane concentration to less than 1.0%

No other work will be permitted until the methane concentration is less than 1.0%

Over 1.5%

Everyone except those required to reduce the methane content of the air will be withdrawn from the effected area

Electrically powered equipment in the affected area will be disconnected at the power source


METHANE MONITORS ON FACE EQUIPMENT

Over 1.0%

A warning signal will be given.

The warning signal will be visible to a person who can deenergize electric equipment of shut down diesel-powered equipment on which the monitor is mounted.

The monitor will automatically deenergixe electrical equipment or shut down diesel-powered equipment on which it is mounted when:

The methane concentration at any methane monitor reaches 2.0%.

The monitor is not operating properly.


VENTILATION/AIR QUANTITY

CONTINUOUS MINER/CONVENTIONAL SECTIONS

At least 3,000 CFM will reach each working face where coal is being cut, mined, drilled for blasting or loaded.

At least 9,000 CFM will reach the last open crosscut on each working section.

Greater quantities of air may be required by the approved ventilation plan.

LONGWALL SECTIONS

At least 30,000 CFM shall reach the working face of each longwall, unless the operator demonstrates that a lesser air quantity will maintain continual compliance with applicable methane and respirable dust standards, lesser quantities will be specified in the approved ventilation plan.

Greater quantities of air may be required by the approved ventilation plan .


3 types of monitors
3 Types of Monitors

  • Catalytic Bead – work best when ambient methane level is 0%, otherwise catalyst will deteriorate, these are least expensive

  • Thermal Conductivity- affected by other gases besides methane, can be unreliable

  • Infra-red – these are the most reliable and most expensive


Two major suppliers
Two Major Suppliers

  • Conspec

  • MSA


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