A. The Director shall promulgate rules and regulations, in accordance with the provisions of Article 2 (§ 2.2-4006 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act, necessary to ensure the safety and health of miners and other persons and property at underground mineral mines in the Commonwealth. Nothing in this section shall restrict the Director from promulgating regulations more stringent than regulations promulgated pursuant to the federal mine safety law. Such rules and regulations applicable to underground mineral mines shall establish requirements:
1. For protecting miners from general risks found at underground mineral mines and mining;
2. For the provision and use of personal protection equipment and devices for the head, feet, hands, and body;
3. For the maintenance, operation, storage, and transportation of mechanical or electrical equipment, devices, and machinery used in the underground mining of minerals;
4. For controlling unstable roof, rib, wall and other ground conditions;
5. For the handling and storage of combustible materials, including requirements for emergency plans, fire fighting and emergency rescue, fire prevention and safety features on mine equipment, fire safety in mine structures and other areas, and other flame and spark hazards;
6. For the control of exposure to airborne contaminants and excessive noise levels;
7. For adequate air quality through ventilation and other appropriate measures;
8. For the safe storage, transportation, and use of explosive and blasting devices;
9. For the safe design, operation, maintenance, and inspection of drilling equipment;
10. For the construction, installation, maintenance, use and inspection of boilers, air compressors, and compressed gas systems;
11. For the safe design, use, maintenance, and inspection of passageways, walkways, ladders, and other travel ways;
12. For the safe design, operation, maintenance, and inspection of electrical equipment and systems;
13. For the storage, transportation, and handling of materials, including corrosive and hazardous substances;
14. For the safe design, use, maintenance, and inspection of guards on moving parts of equipment and machinery;
15. For the safe design and operation of chutes;
16. For the inspection, maintenance, safe design, and operation of hoisting equipment and cables;
17. For the inspection, maintenance, and construction of mine shafts;
18. For the actions of certified and competent persons; and
19. For the safe design, operation, maintenance, and inspection of, and the conduct of mining activities at, surface areas of underground mineral mines.
B. The Director shall not promulgate any regulations relating to underground mineral mines which are inconsistent with requirements established by the Act, or which, when an operator takes action to comply with the provisions of such regulation, would place the operator in violation of the federal mine safety law.
1994, c. 28; 1996, c. 774; 1998, c. 695.