MSHA lengthens ETS comment period

THE US Mine Safety and Health Administration announced Wednesday that it has extended the comment period for its Emergency Temporary Standard on Emergency Mine Evacuation.

Donna Schmidt

The new deadline for public comment is June 29, 2006. The ETS was originally published May 9 with a May 30 comment close.

MSHA cited industry feedback as the reason for the amendment.

“[We] received a request to extend the ... period for 60 days so that interested parties could adequately address issues contained in MSHA’s opening statement,” agency acting administrator David Dye said in the announcement.

Given the new comment deadline, MSHA now states the final ruling will be published no later than December 9 of this year, exactly nine months after the original ETS publication.

The amendment is only the third such move in MSHA’s 28-year history.

Significant items included in the standards, according to MSHA, include immediate agency notification of any underground or surface operation accidents within 15 minutes of realisation, storage and use of self-contained self-rescue devices (SCSRs), training for evacuations and the maintenance of underground communication.

Written comments are to be submitted to the agency’s Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances, 1100 Wilson Blvd. Room 2350, Arlington, Va. 22209-3939; fax: 202-693-9441. Comments are also accepted at or by e-mail to

For further information, MSHA Office of Standards, Regulations and Variances acting director Patricia Silvey may be reached at (202) 693-9440 or at