(a) The office shall employ a sufficient number of mine safety instructors as the director determines to be reasonably necessary in fully and effectively carrying out the applicable provisions of this chapter.
(b) To be eligible for employment as a mine safety instructor, the applicant shall be: (1) A citizen of West Virginia, in good health, not less than twenty-four years of age, of good character and reputation, and of temperate habits; (2) a person who has had at least five years of practical experience in coal mines, at least two years of which has been in mines in this state: Provided, That graduation from any accredited college of mining engineering may be considered equivalent to two years of practical experience; (3) a person who has had practical experience with dangerous gases found in coal mines, and who has a good theoretical and practical knowledge of mines, mining methods, mine ventilation, sound safety practices and applicable mining laws and rules; and (4) a person who possesses a West Virginia foreman-fireboss certification; or a person who has had at least three years of experience as an actual working team member of a mine rescue team, or at least three years of experience as a member of a first aid team or emergency medical technician team; or a person who has had at least three years of experience as the safety director, or the equivalent as approved by the mine inspectors' examining board, of a mine; or a person who has had at least three years of experience as an active member of a mine safety committee. For the purpose of this section, practical experience means the performance of normal mining duties requiring a person to hold a certificate of competency and qualification as an experienced miner prior to actually performing such duties.
(c) (1) In order to qualify for appointment as a mine safety instructor, an eligible applicant shall submit to written, oral and practical examinations administered by the mine inspectors' examining board and furnish evidence of good health, character and other facts establishing eligibility as the board may require. The examinations shall relate to the duties to be performed by a mine safety instructor and, subject to the approval of the mine inspectors' examining board, may be prepared by the director.
(2) If the board finds after investigation and examination that an applicant: (A) Is eligible for appointment; and (B) has passed each required examination with a grade of at least seventy-five percent or an overall combined average score of eighty percent, the board shall add the applicant's name and grades to the register of qualified eligible candidates and promptly certify its action in writing to the director. The director shall then appoint one of the candidates from the three having the highest grades.
(d) Mine safety instructors shall be paid an annual salary of not less than $37,400, which shall be fixed by the director, who shall take into consideration ability, performance of duty and experience. Mine safety instructors shall devote all of their time to the duties of the office.
(e) Except as expressly provided in this section to the contrary, all provisions of this article relating to the eligibility, qualification, appointment, tenure and removal of underground mine inspectors, as well as those provisions relating to compensatory time and reimbursement for necessary expenses, are applicable to mine safety instructors.