According to Section 2 of the MINER Act, an amendment to a section of the original regulations now requires all underground coal mines to establish and adopt a written emergency response plan, as well as provide an option for emergency situations, particularly in the event that miners are trapped and cannot escape but must isolate themselves from a contaminated atmosphere.
"PPL P06-V-10 [outlining ERPs] states, in part, that the ERP should include a provision that two inflatable stoppings or other quick deployable barricade units be provided for each working section within six months of becoming commercially available," MSHA said.
Among those permissible materials, which MSHA said met technical and testing requirements, is brattice cloth - outlined in the agency's 30 CFR Part 7, Subpart B rulemaking - which has been issued an MSHA approval number.
"Only such materials that are used in the fabrication of the inflatable portion of the barricade, or any portion of the barricade exposed to the mine atmosphere, will be subject to these technical and testing requirements," the agency noted.
"Any additional coverings or layers that are provided to add durability or mechanical strength will not be required to obtain MSHA approval."
The guidance was published as a public information bulletin (PIB) for all operations. Its impetus, MSHA said, was in response to manufacturers that have developed emergency quick-deployable, inflatable barricades as a new technology to aid trapped miners.
"These manufacturers are seeking guidance from MSHA, relative to applicable requirements for determination of the suitability of materials used in constructing inflatable emergency stoppings and barricades," the agency commented.
"The innovative, inflatable, quick-deployable emergency barricade/stopping devices can substitute for or supplement the currently required conventional materials."
Essentially, much of the wood and brattice could be replaced by the inflatable devices, instructed the PIB, adding that flame resistant brattice cloth currently approved for underground mine use - under 30 CFR (Â§ 7.27) for ventilation controls - can also be used as suitable barricade material.
To print off a full copy of the PIB, visit the MSHA website.