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SURFACE ORGANIZATION. MSHA-2201 November 1981 March 2005 . Northern Mine Rescue Association. INTRODUCTION.

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surface organization



November 1981

March 2005

  • A mine rescue and recovery operation does not simply consist of a team going into a mine to rescue survivors or to put out a fire. It consists of much more - a whole network of people and services to direct and support the entire operation, especially the rescue teams.
  • When your team arrives at a mine to begin rescue work, the rescue and recovery operation will probably have already begun on the surface. Several officials and mine personnel will have been called to the mine site to assume their duties in a chain-of command. Also, several mine facilities will have been set up to handle the large number of people and services required for the operation.
  • This training session on surface organization is designed to familiarize you with how a rescue and recovery operation is organized and managed so that you can better understand the role the team plays in relation to the overall organization.
  • The first few hours after an emergency occurs at a mine are often the most critical to saving survivors and/or the mine property, so it is particularly important that surface organization be well-planned and well-managed.
objective 1
Objective 1:
  • The team members will become familiar with the mines emergency notification plan
notification plan
  • Each mine should have an Emergency Notification Plan for notifying necessary personnel when there is an emergency at the mine. This plan lists the various supervisors, administrators, and government officials who have to be notified of the emergency.
notification plan1
  • Mines are required by law to also have and post a Mine Rescue Notification Plan for notifying all the mine rescue team members that will be needed to assist in the rescue and recovery operation. This Mine Rescue Notification Plan may be part of the Mine Emergency Notification Plan.
examples of the supervisors and administrators who would be included in such a plan are the
Mine Manager

Mine Superintendent

Mine Foreman (off shift foreman also)

Safety Director

General Mine Manager

General Mine Superintendent

District Inspectors (State and Federal)

Chief, State Department of Mines

District MSHA office; and

District office of miner's union (if involved)

Examples of the supervisors and administrators who would be included in such a plan are the:
mine notification plan
Mine Notification Plan
  • The mine's notification plan should also include any other people or services that will be needed at the mine site such as police officers, supply clerks, telephone operators, medical personnel, ambulances, and other emergency vehicles.
objective 2
Objective 2:
  • The team members will understand the importance of establishing a chain-of-command and identify the teams place in this chain
establishing a chain of command
  • A great number of people will be doing many different jobs during a rescue and recovery operation. Therefore, it is important to establish a clear chain-of-command so that surface arrangements can be handled smoothly and so that the rescue and recovery work itself can be well coordinated.
establishing a chain of command1
  • Located at the top of the chain-of-command is the mine manager or the mine superintendent. The manager or superintendent usually delegates responsibility for various jobs to other people. These people must know exactly what their duties and responsibilities are, who to report to, and who reports to them. Later on in the lecture we will discuss one way of dividing up these duties and responsibilities.
establishing a chain of command2
  • State and Federal officials will arrive at the mine site to advise and observe. Federal officials can take charge of an operation if they deem it necessary, but normally their role is to consult with and advise the company personnel on how the rescue and recovery work might best be carried out.
establishing a chain of command3
  • The rescue team is one link in the chain-of-command. The team is under the direct supervision of the team captain, and the team captain deals with the Safety Director or other designated official who is responsible for the rescue teams.
making surface arrangements
  • Surface arrangements cover a wide range of activities and require the coordinated efforts of many people.
  • Surface arrangements include such tasks as establishing a command center where all the decisions are made, providing an adequate information center from which all public information is released, and obtaining and distributing necessary supplies and equipment.
objective 3
Objective 3:
  • The team members will identify the various facilities and arrangements normally recommended for carrying out a rescue and recovery operation
suggested facilities arrangements
Suggested Facilities & Arrangements
  • Command Center
    • Located at the hub of the mine rescue operation is the command center, which is where the people in charge gather to plan and direct the rescue and recovery operation.
command center
Command Center
  • The command center will have communications equipment in it connected to the underground phones and to other surface phones, along with mine maps for following the progress of the teams and for marking findings and figuring out strategies.
waiting area for teams
Waiting Area for Teams
  • When the teams arrive at the mine site, they should be checked in and assigned to a team area.
waiting area for teams1
Waiting Area for Teams
  • A "rotation schedule" should be worked up by the Safety Director (or whoever is in charge of the teams) for the deployment of all teams called to the mine site. The rotation schedule will assign teams to work at certain intervals and will designate when each team is to serve as a backup team to the fresh air base or as a standby team on the surface.
bench area for apparatus
Bench Area for Apparatus
  • An area that has work benches and where water is available should be set aside as an apparatus room where the apparatus can be cleaned, tested, and prepared for use by the bench men or by the team members themselves. If convenient, the Mine Rescue Station can be used as a bench area for the apparatus.
  • Having good security at the mine is important in order to keep the roads open and to ensure that curious bystanders do not hinder the mine rescue effort and are not injured while on the mine property.
  • All roads and paths leading to the mine should be secured and guarded by assigned company personnel or police officers. Incoming traffic on the roads leading to the mine property should also be regulated by authorized personnel to keep unnecessary vehicles off the roads so that they can remain open for needed personnel, supplies, emergency vehicles, and so forth.
information center
Information Center
  • Some Sort of an information center should be established on the surface for authorizing and issuing all information that is released to the public. The center should preferably be directed by a company official or by a State or Federal official authorized to issue news releases to the press and to any families and friends of trapped or otherwise involved miners.
information center1
Information Center
  • In addition to the person issuing the information, a company or government spokesperson is sometimes authorized to deliver the news releases to the public and to answer any questions that may arise.
information center2
Information Center
  • Copies of all news releases should be given to the news reporters to help prevent any confusion or misconstrued facts. Also, a copy of each news release with the time and date it was issued should be placed on file for future record.
waiting area for families and friends
Waiting Area for Families and Friends
  • A special room will usually be set aside as a waiting room for the families and friends of any trapped or otherwise involved miners. The waiting families and friends should be kept informed as to the progress of the rescue and recovery operation with hourly or periodic progress reports issued from the information center.
press room
Press Room
  • An area completely separate from the family waiting area should be set up as a pressroom, where media representatives can gather to receive the news releases issued from the information center.
  • News reporters should be restricted from wandering about the mine property, as they could receive information, which is based on speculation, or further upset the waiting families by trying to film them or interview them
food and sleeping quarters
Food and Sleeping Quarters
  • Arrangements for food and sleeping quarters should be made for all personnel at the mine. Usually food is brought in and rooms at a nearby motel are reserved. If there aren't any nearby motels, arrangements should be made for sleeping quarters at the mine
  • If it will be necessary to test samples of the mine air during the rescue and recovery operation, a laboratory with suitable air analysis equipment should be set up at the mine for testing such air. If this is not possible, the air samples may have to be sent to an off-site laboratory for analysis.
  • Sometimes, mobile air analysis equipment, such as that on a mine rescue van, can be brought to the mine site for quick air analyses.
medical facilities
Medical Facilities
  • Some arrangement for medical services and facilities should be made. This could range from standby ambulances, EMTs, and a first aid room to a temporary hospital, depending on the situation.
temporary morgue
Temporary Morgue
  • In situations where bodies are being recovered from the mine, a temporary morgue will be necessary.
objective 4
Objective 4:
  • The team members will identify the various personnel and duties normally involved in surface organization
suggested personnel and their duties
Suggested Personnel and Their Duties
  • As mentioned, a great number of people will be doing many different kinds of jobs during a rescue and recovery operation. These range from making sure that necessary supplies are ordered and on the way to making the plans for the actual rescue and recovery operation.
suggested personnel and their duties1
Suggested Personnel and Their Duties
  • The following list of personnel and their duties suggests the people that may be involved in surface organization during a mine emergency and describes how the duties might be broken down.
mine manager or superintendent
Mine Manager or Superintendent:
  • If the mine has a mine manager as well as a mine superintendent, the manager usually carries full responsibility for the rescue and recovery operation. In these cases, the mine superintendent works directly under the manager. In situations where the mine does not have a mine manager, the superintendent is in charge of the operation.
  • The mine manager or superintendent should establish the command center and oversee all aspects of the rescue and recovery operation. He or she will delegate responsibility for various aspects of the operation as necessary or according to a prearranged plan.
mine manager or superintendent1
Mine Manager or Superintendent:
  • It is suggested that the manager or superintendent establish an advisory committee composed of company and Federal representatives. and (if involved) State and union representatives to serve and advise during each shift at the command center.
  • This committee, along with the mine manager or superintendent, could also serve as a briefing/debriefing committee to inform teams going into the mine and to gather information from teams coming out of the mine.
mine manager or superintendent2
Mine Manager or Superintendent:
  • The mine manager or superintendent should also designate both an official to serve as the fresh air base coordinator for each shift, and an advisory committee to serve and advise the coordinator during each shift at the command center.
  • Also, this person should designate someone to direct the information center and issue news releases.
mine manager or superintendent3
Mine Manager or Superintendent:
  • The mine manager or superintendent should be sure to delegate personnel to:
    • Notify the families of any (trapped miners, which should be done in person if possible
    • Notify the families of any miners or other personnel who have been authorized to stay at the mine site as emergency operations personnel
    • Monitor the underground phone circuit continuously, regardless of whether or not it appears to be operational
    • Obtain gas samples from the main exhausts
2 mine clerk
2.Mine Clerk:
  • A mine clerk will likely be designated as responsible for all necessary communication coming into and out of the command center. The duties of the mine clerk are to:
  • a. Notify all persons on the notification plan and inform them of the emergency
  • b. Attend the telephone at the command center
  • c. Assign people for errand duty
3 chief electrician
3. Chief Electrician:
  • The duties of the chief electrician are to:
  • a. When authorized by the person in charge, pull and immediately lock all electric switches controlling the electricity to the mine
  • b. Provide the materials for additional telephone communications as needed
  • c. Arrange for any needed assistants
4 chief mechanic or mechanical foreman
4. Chief Mechanic or Mechanical Foreman:
  • The duties of the chief mechanic are to:
    • Check explosion doors (for exhausting fan) or weak wall (for blowing fan) for damage. Make sure explosion doors are closed/or weak wall is repaired
    • Check fan and, if necessary, instruct an electrician or machinist to make repairs to the fan
    • Monitor the operation of the fan and the atmosphere in and around the fan house if the fan is exhausting. With an exhausting fan, proper precautions should be taken to avoid asphyxiation or an explosion in the fan house
    • Alter ventilation only when ordered to do so by the person in charge
5 outside foreman
5. Outside Foreman:
  • The duties of the outside foreman are to:
    • Arrange for guards and state and/or local police to:
    • Rope off and guard all mine openings
    • Guard all roads and paths leading to the mine
  • Designate a person as a check man to monitor people entering and leaving the mine. The check man should:
    • Attend to his/her assigned station within the roped off area
    • Allow no one to go underground except persons authorized by the officials in charge
    • Examine each person (entering the mine) for matches and smoking materials, making no exceptions
    • Check off each person by name and number and record the time as they go in and come out of the mine
  • Set up an eating area and make sure that ample food and drinks are available for the rescue team. and other personnel
  • Set up medical facilities (first aid room, triage center, emergency hospital), restroom, and a temporary morgue, if necessary, and make arrangements for sleeping quarters
6 safety director
6. Safety Director:
  • The safety director is usually responsible for the mine rescue teams. The duties that the safety director would normally have are to:
    • Assemble mine rescue teams and first-aid crews
    • Provide facilities and equipment for testing, cleaning, and recharging the breathing apparatus
    • Assign personnel to issue, record, and return mine rescue equipment
    • Consult with the mine manager or superintendent regarding plans for the rescue and recovery operation
    • Establish a rotation schedule for the rescue teams.
6 safety director1
6. Safety Director:
  • The rotation schedule should be designed so there is a clear order of team usage and so backup teams are always available. There should be an adequate amount of time allotted for resting teams and for cleaning, testing, and preparing the apparatus.
  • Exactly how the schedule is set up depends on how many teams are available to the rescue operation, what the conditions are underground, and what the service time of the apparatus is. It is often recommended that no rescue operation start with less than three teams ready and available on the property.
7 chief engineer
7. Chief Engineer:
  • The duties of the chief engineer are to:
    • Supply the command center with copies of maps showing the regular flow of air and the location of ventilation controls, doors, pumps, substations, machinery, and the electrical system with control switch locations
    • Alert adjoining mines if they are connected under-ground with the affected mine
    • If needed, obtain maps of adjoining mines
    • Make arrangements to furnish drilling rig equipment if needed
8 supply clerk
8. Supply Clerk:
  • The supply clerk (or clerks) is responsible for obtaining and distributing all the equipment and supplies used for the operation. The duties of the supply clerk are to:
    • Prepare an inventory of existing equipment and supplies
    • Contact other mines and suppliers to obtain other needed supplies and equipment
    • Provide the following for immediate use: nails, brattice cloth, hatchets, axes, saws, picks, boards, telephones, wires, any needed gas testing equipment, sledge hammers, slate bars, shovels, timbers, stretchers, batteries, and first-aid cabinets.
8 supply clerk continued
8. Supply Clerk:(continued)
  • Provide the following for authorized personnel: coveralls, safety shoes, gloves, caps, flashlights, safety glasses, and lamp belts
  • Keep a record of all equipment issued and returned
9 lamp man
9. Lamp man:
  • The lamp man is responsible for issuing all cap lamps, self-rescuers, check numbers or tags. The duties of the lamp man are to:
    • See that each person receiving a lamp is approved by the mine manager or superintendent
    • Record the equipment issued and returned
    • Give each person going underground a check number
    • Record the name and number of each person going underground in a book.
10 mine foreman
10. Mine Foreman:
  • The duties of the mine foreman are to:
    • Organize underground operations for each shift in cooperation with the person in charge, Federal inspectors, and (if involved State inspectors and union representatives
    • Provide suitable transportation for people and supplies, as needed
11 other company personnel
11. Other Company Personnel:
  • The duties of other company personnel are to:
    • Assemble organizations according to the pre-arranged plan
    • Stand by until ordered to assist or leave.