NIOSH Testimony on Safety Standards for Underground Coal Mine Ventilation by R. W. Niemeier, June 16, 1988.
This testimony summarized information contained in written comments on the proposed rule on mine ventilation submitted on April 28, 1988. The proposed regulation included a number of provisions which were significant improvements over existing standards. These requirements eliminated aluminum overcasts, required fireproof mortar in permanent stoppings and fire resistant coatings on timbers used as stoppings, and improve the requirements for underground electrical installations. New rules for escapeways provided additional and needed protection in the event of an emergency under the ground. Carbon-monoxide fire detection system provided a major margin in risk reduction. Specific mention was made of air quality, mean entry air velocity, and atmospheric monitoring systems. The testimony indicated that NIOSH did not support the use of belt haulageways as intake air courses at any time. Special needs of anthracite miners were also noted. Although the mines were usually smaller, less mechanized, and had a lower potential for dust generation, anthracite miners appear to be at twice the risk of coalworkers' pneumoconiosis compared to bituminous coal miners. Special attention must be given to controlling dust levels in anthracite mines.