MSHA Proposes Improvements to Support the Development and Deployment of Advanced Safety and Health Technologies

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Mining Association (NMA) today applauded revisions proposed by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to update its 30 CFR Part 18 standards governing permissibility testing for electric motor-driven mine equipment and accessories.

“The industry has long advocated for updates to the standards, which limit companies’ ability to use the latest available technologies to create safer mine environments,” said Rich Nolan, NMA president and CEO. “Current standards have resulted in a backlog of superior technologies awaiting MSHA approvals, even as those technologies are being used successfully in mines elsewhere around the world or by other occupations in the U.S. The proposed updates will allow us to provide the best available protection for miners through a more efficient and effective process. Put simply, this translates into people being safer sooner.”

MSHA proposes to incorporate by reference 14 “voluntary consensus standards” (VCS) developed by the American National Standards Institute, the International Society of Automation, UL LLC, and the International Electrotechnical Commission. The agency will accept tests from these organizations in lieu of MSHA’s standards. The VCS contain general and specific construction and testing requirements for equipment used in explosive gas atmospheres, explosive dust atmospheres or hazardous locations.

Examples of equipment covered by the regulations include portable two-way radios, remote control units, longwall mining systems, portable oxygen detectors, miner-wearable components for proximity detection systems, and powered air-purifying respirators. NMA and its members have tenaciously worked for this change to streamline the process by which MSHA approves and certifies equipment for use in gassy mines.

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