Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
Under Section 313 of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act), 30 U.S.C. 873, a mine operator is required to use permissible explosives in underground coal mines. The Mine Act also provides that under safeguards prescribed by the Secretary of Labor, a mine operator may permit the firing of more than 20 shots and the use of nonpermissible explosives in sinking shafts and slopes from the surface in rock. Title 30, CFR 75.1321 outlines the procedures by which a permit may be issued for the firing of more than 20 boreholes and/or the use of nonpermissible shot-firing units in underground coal mines. In those instances in which there is a misfire of explosives, 30 CFR 75.1327 requires that a qualified person post each accessible entrance to the affected area with a warning to prohibit entry. Title 30 CFR 77.1909-1 outlines the procedures by which a coal mine operator may apply for a permit to use nonpermissible explosives and/or shot-firing units in the blasting of rock while sinking shafts or slopes for underground coal mines.
MSHA is particularly interested in comments that:
• Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
• Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
• Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
• Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses.
A copy of the proposed information collection request can be obtained by contacting the employee listed in the
Title 30, CFR 75.1321, 75.1327 and 77.1901-1 provide MSHA District Managers with the authority to address unusual but recurring blasting practices needed for breaking rock types more resilient than coal and for misfires in blasting coal. MSHA uses the information requested to issue permits to mine operators or shaft and slope contractors for the use of nonpermissible explosives and/or shot-firing units under 30 CFR part 77, Subpart T—Slope and Shaft Sinking. Similar permits are issued by MSHA to underground coal mine operators for shooting more than 20 bore holes and/or for the use of nonpermissible shot firing units when requested under 30 CFR part 75, Subpart N—Explosives and Blasting. The approved permits allow the use of specific equipment and explosives in limited applications and under exceptional circumstances where standard coal blasting techniques or equipment is inadequate to the task. These permits inform mine management and the miners of the steps to be employed to protect the safety of any person exposed to such blasting while using nonpermissible items. Also, the posting of danger/warning signs at entrances to locations where a misfired blast hole or round remains indisposed is a safety precaution predating the Coal Mine Safety and Health Act.
Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record.