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§22A-2-43a. Operation of cutting and mining machines; repair and maintenance of same.

(a) Qualified person to operate cutting machine. -- No person shall be placed in charge of a coal-cutting machine in any mine who is not a qualified person, capable of determining the safety of the roof and sides of the working places and of detecting the presence of explosive gas, unless they are accompanied by a certified or qualified person who has passed such an examination.

(b) Operation of mining machines. -- Machine operators and helpers shall use care while operating mining machines. They shall examine the roof of the working place to see that it is safe before starting to operate the machine. They shall not move the machine while the cutter chain is in motion. Additionally, no person shall operate the cutterhead on any continuous miner while the machine is moving from place to place underground: Provided, That a cutterhead may be operated during clean up or when the machine is extracting coal.

(c) Repair and maintenance of mining machines. -- (1) Repairs or maintenance shall not be performed on mining machines until the power is off and locked and tagged, if required by law, and the machinery is blocked against motion, except where machinery motion is necessary to make adjustments. For purposes of this subsection, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(A) "Maintenance" means the labor of keeping machinery in good working order and includes cleaning, clearing jammed material or conducting examinations on or in close proximity to machinery; and

(B) "Repair" means to fix, mend, or restore to good working order.

(d) Methods to comply with the standard to prevent inadvertent or unexpected motion include:

(A) Opening the circuit breaker for the affected machinery, provided no energized parts or conductors are exposed, and placing the run selector switch for startup of the machinery in the "off" position. On longwall machinery, this would include placing the lockout switch in the lockout position in the area were the repair or maintenance is being performed. A qualified electrician is required to de-energize a circuit breaker if there are exposed energized parts or conductors; or

(B) Opening the circuit breaker at the power center that supplies power for the affected machinery and disengaging the power cable coupler that supplies power to the machinery; or

(C) Opening a manual visible disconnect switch, either within the circuit or onboard the machinery, and securing the switch against reenergization, as required by law. A control circuit start-stop switch does not constitute a manual disconnect; or

(D) In cases such as steeply inclined belt conveyors and suspended loads, when removing the power alone will not ensure against unintentional or inadvertent movement, the machinery shall be physically blocked, in addition to removing the power by one of the three methods described above. Physical blocking may be achieved by the use of such devices as bars, chocks or clamps.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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