December 10, 2020

MSHA Proposes to Adopt Voluntary Consensus Standards for Certain Mine Equipment

A new proposed rule would incorporate by reference 14 voluntary consensus standards into MSHA regulations that describe testing, evaluation, and approval requirements for electric motor-driven mine equipment and accessories used in gassy mines. MSHA’s proposal is intended to improve the efficiency of its approval process as well as encourage the use of technologies that can lead to improvements in mine safety and health. Under the new rule, MSHA would accept voluntary consensus standards for gassy mining environments that provide protection against fire or explosion dangers. The voluntary consensus standards would replace the approval requirements in MSHA’s current regulations.

MSHA proposes a one-year transition period during which mine operators could use equipment and accessories that meet either the voluntary consensus standards or the existing MSHA approval requirements. Once the transition period ends, operators would be required to use the voluntary consensus standards for the equipment and accessories covered by the standards. The Federal Register notice announcing the proposed rule includes a table that lists the voluntary consensus standards that MSHA intends to incorporate by reference.

The agency is accepting comments on the proposed rule until Dec. 21, 2020. For further details, see MSHA’s press release or the Federal Register notice.