This report describes the development of guidelines for the design, inspection, and maintenance of automatic couplers. To devise the guidelines, performance requirements for automatic couplers were carefully established through a comprehensive survey of coupler manufacturers and extensive observation of automatic couplers in service in a broad spectrum of mines. The capability of the couplers to withstand the demands of the mining environment in terms of strength characteristics, gathering range, curve negotiability, and other factors were all carefully evaluated. An analysis of coupler-related accidents for 1972-76 was carried out to provide information on the safety and reliability of existing automatic couplers. This formed an important input to the development of the guidelines. It is expected that these guidelines will be useful to coupler manufacturers for establishing designs for improved automatic couplers, and to mine operators for maintaining their couplers in a safe and good operating condition throughout their expected lifetime.