Criteria to Certify Coal Mine Rescue Teams, 79010-79012 [2013-31033]

Download as PDF 79010 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 249 / Friday, December 27, 2013 / Notices Regulations, and Variances, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2350, Arlington, VA 22209–3939. Sign in at the receptionist’s desk on the 21st floor. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sheila McConnell, Deputy Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, MSHA, at McConnell.Sheila.A@dol.gov (email); 202–693–9440 (voice); or 202–693–9441 (facsimile). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES I. Background Under the authority of Section 103 of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, MSHA is required to issue regulations requiring operators to maintain accurate records of employee exposures to potentially toxic materials or harmful physical agents which are required to be monitored or measured under any applicable mandatory health or safety standard promulgated under this Act. Airborne radon and radon daughters exist in every uranium mine and in several other underground mining commodities. Radon is radioactive gas. It diffuses into the underground mine atmosphere through the rock and the ground water. Radon decays in a series of steps into other radioactive elements, which are solids, called radon daughters. Radon and radon daughters are invisible and odorless. Decay of radon and its daughters results in emissions of alpha energy. Medical doctors and scientists have associated high radon daughter exposures with lung cancer. The health hazard arises from breathing air contaminated with radon daughters which are in turn deposited in the lungs. The lung tissues are sensitive to alpha radioactivity. The amounts of airborne radon daughters to which most miners can be exposed with no adverse effects have been established and are expressed as working levels (WL). The current MSHA standard is a maximum personal exposure of 4 working level months (WLM) per year. Excess lung cancer in uranium miners, just as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, silicosis, and other debilitating occupational diseases, has been recognized for many years. Thus, an adequate base of accurate exposure level data is essential to control miners’ exposures and permit an evaluation of the effectiveness of existing regulations. The standard at 30 CFR 57.5037 established the procedures to be used by the mine operator in sampling mine air for the presence and concentrations of radon daughters. Operators are required VerDate Mar<15>2010 23:48 Dec 26, 2013 Jkt 232001 to conduct weekly sampling where concentrations of radon daughters exceed 0.3 WL. Sampling is required biweekly where uranium mines have readings of 0.1 WL to 0.3 WL and every 3 months in non-uranium underground mines where the readings are 0.1 WL to 0.3 WL. Mine operators are required to keep records of all mandatory samplings. Records must include the sample date, location, and results, and must be retained at the mine site or nearest mine office for at least 2 years. The standard at 30 CFR 57.5040 requires mine operators to calculate and record individual exposures to radon daughters on MSHA Form 4000–9 ‘‘Record of Individual Exposure to Radon Daughters’’. The calculations are based on the results of the weekly sampling required by 30 CFR 57.5037. Records must be maintained by the operator and submitted to MSHA annually. II. Desired Focus of Comments MSHA is particularly interested in comments that: • Evaluate whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information has practical utility; • Evaluate the accuracy of the MSHA’s estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; • Suggest methods to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. This information collection request is available on http://www.msha.gov/regs/ fedreg/informationcollection/ informationcollection.asp. The information collection request will be available on MSHA’s Web site and on http://www.regulations.gov. MSHA cautions the commenter against providing any information in the submission that should not be publicly disclosed. Full comments, including personal information provided, will be made available on www.regulations.gov and www.reginfo.gov. The public may also examine publicly available documents at MSHA, 1100 Wilson Boulevard, Room 2176, Arlington, VA. PO 00000 Frm 00201 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Questions about the information collection requirements may be directed to the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION section of this notice. III. Current Actions This request for collection of information contains provisions for the Proposed Information Collection Request, Radiation Sampling and Exposure Records. MSHA has updated the data in respect to the number of respondents and responses, as well as the total burden hours and burden costs supporting this information collection request. Type of Review: Extension. Agency: Mine Safety and Health Administration. Title: Radiation Sampling and Exposure Records (pertains to underground metal and nonmetal mines). OMB Number: 1219–0003. Affected Public: Business or other forprofit. Form: MSHA Form 4000–9. Total Number of Respondents: 5. Frequency: Various. Total Number of Responses: 505. Total Burden Hours: 502 hours. Total Annual Respondent or Recordkeeper Cost Burden: $25. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record. Dated: December 20, 2013. George F. Triebsch, Certifying Officer. [FR Doc. 2013–30922 Filed 12–26–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510–43–P DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Mine Safety and Health Administration [Docket Number MSHA–2013–0037] Criteria to Certify Coal Mine Rescue Teams Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: This notice informs the public that the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has updated the coal mine rescue team certification criteria. The Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act of 2006 requires MSHA to update these criteria every five years. One of the criteria for a mine operator to certify the qualifications of a coal mine rescue team is that team members are properly SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\27DEN1.SGM 27DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 249 / Friday, December 27, 2013 / Notices trained annually. MSHA has updated the prescribed instruction guides for annual training of coal mine rescue teams to provide improved advanced mine rescue training by including more hands-on skills training to enhance team performance when responding to an actual mine emergency. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: George F. Triebsch, Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, MSHA, at triebsch.george@dol.gov (email); 202–693–9440 (voice); or 202– 693–9441 (facsimile). These are not tollfree numbers. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES I. Background Under title 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations (30 CFR) part 49, underground coal mine operators must designate at least two mine rescue teams to provide mine rescue coverage at an underground coal mine at all times when miners are underground. Underground coal mine operators must annually certify the qualifications of these designated teams. MSHA provides the criteria for certifying the qualifications of coal mine rescue teams under 30 CFR 49.50. Initial criteria to certify the qualifications of coal mine rescue teams under 30 CFR 49.50 are: (1) Team is available at all times when miners are underground; (2) Except where alternative compliance is permitted, team has five members and one alternate; (3) Members have experience working in an underground coal mine; (4) Team is available within 1-hour ground travel time from the mine rescue station to the mine; (5) Appropriate mine rescue equipment is provided, inspected, tested, and maintained; (6) Members are physically fit; and (7) Members have completed initial training. The annual criteria to maintain mine rescue team certification under 30 CFR 49.50 are: (1) Members are properly trained annually; (2) Members are familiar with the operations of each covered mine; (3) Members participate in at least two local mine rescue contests annually; (4) Members participate in mine rescue training at each covered mine; and (5) Members are knowledgeable about the operations and ventilation of each covered mine. The MINER Act requires MSHA to update the criteria to certify the qualifications of mine rescue teams every five years. The revised instruction guides do not change the certification criteria listed above, but rather update the prescribed training that team members need annually to be properly VerDate Mar<15>2010 23:48 Dec 26, 2013 Jkt 232001 trained. The specific annual training requirements are listed at 30 CFR 49.18(b). II. Revision of Instruction Guides The annual training requirements for coal mine rescue teams include § 49.18(b)(4), which requires advanced mine rescue training and procedures as prescribed by MSHA’s Office of Educational Policy and Development (EPD). Under this requirement, EPD currently prescribes Instruction Guide IG7, ‘‘Advanced Mine Rescue Training—Coal Mines,’’ which includes best practices, handouts, visuals, and text materials for the classroom and activities or exercises for practice using equipment and developing teamwork. To update this prescribed training, the existing lessons and exercises from the current Instruction Guide IG7 were reorganized and Instruction Guide IG7a, containing new practical exercises, was added. The materials for classroom training are retained as Instruction Guide IG7, ‘‘Advanced Mine Rescue Training—Coal Mines,’’ and the practice exercises are moved to new Instruction Guide IG7a, ‘‘Advanced Skills Training—Activities for Coal Mine Rescue Teams.’’ Instruction Guide IG7a also contains new exercises to assure practice on skills a team would need in a mine emergency, as well as expectations training. MSHA published a notice in the Federal Register (78 FR 58567) announcing the availability of the revised instruction guides on the Agency’s Web site and soliciting comments to assure that the revised instruction guides would improve the quality and effectiveness of instruction and skills training for coal mine rescue teams. The comment period closed on November 25, 2013. MSHA received five comments from industry, state government, academia, and a mine rescue association. One commenter stated that IG7a provides a good basic format for mine rescue trainers to quickly develop training exercises for their mine rescue teams. This commenter stated that the expectations training in IG7a was important and recommended that MSHA add an expectation that team members can expect delays in movement and exploration in an actual emergency. MSHA recognizes that it is important for team members to expect delays when exploring in an actual emergency due to the time needed to coordinate their movements with the Command Center. MSHA added this expectation to IG7a. A commenter stated that IG7a should include an exercise in the actual PO 00000 Frm 00202 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 79011 construction of ventilation controls. There are several different types of ventilation controls used in underground coal mining and they vary from mine to mine. In MSHA’s experience, training in ventilation controls, already included in IG7, appropriately addresses how to construct a variety of ventilation controls, including temporary and permanent stoppings, air locks, and line brattice. Another commenter stated that teams would be better trained if the training consisted of actually putting out a fire, being exposed to heat and dense smoke, and spending more time preparing for an actual emergency. MSHA believes that the exercises prescribed in IG7a will provide appropriate training in smoke, fire hose management, and firefighting. A commenter stated that MSHA should revise IG7a to include a statement that all skills covered in Instruction Guide IG7a can be achieved by participating in a skills contest. Another commenter stated that its teams perform the exercises prescribed in IG7a through participation in a skills contest. MSHA does not require participation in a skills contest. MSHA believes, however, that skills contests provide a valuable training experience for mine rescue teams and encourages teams to participate in these contests. Participation in a skills contest can satisfy the training in IG7a, as long as an exercise is included for each skill area prescribed in IG7a. A commenter stated that MSHA should revise IG7a to include a smoke tube exercise. This commenter also provided recommendations for additional materials that MSHA should list as needed for several exercises. MSHA revised IG7a to include a smoke tube exercise in which tubes filled with a visible chemical smoke are opened and the escaping smoke is carried away by any air flow. In the Agency’s experience, smoke tube training will help prepare teams to determine the ventilation direction and measure speed in areas with low air velocity, which may be encountered in a mine emergency. Where appropriate, MSHA also revised the list of materials needed. Another commenter stated that the fire hose management and firefighting exercises contained in IG7a are not practical for anthracite mine rescue teams because: (1) Of the coal seam’s extreme pitch; (2) anthracite coal requires more heat to combust; (3) anthracite dust does not propagate an explosion; and (4) there are no anthracite mines with electrical face equipment. E:\FR\FM\27DEN1.SGM 27DEN1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 79012 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 249 / Friday, December 27, 2013 / Notices MSHA recognizes that underground anthracite mines are unique. Revised IG7a does not include fire hose management or firefighting exercises for mine rescue teams for anthracite coal mines that have no electrical equipment at the face or working section. In MSHA’s experience, a mine rescue team would use fire extinguishers, rather than hoses, to fight a fire in an underground anthracite mine due to the pitch of the entry. MSHA believes that appropriate training in the use of fire extinguishers is already provided through the Emergency Response Plans at anthracite mines. Some commenters stated that the existing requirement that teams train at covered mines two times per year be revised to require training once per year. This requirement was a provision of the MINER Act and is outside the scope of this notice. Another commenter suggested that MSHA revise the guidelines for Mine Emergency Response Drills (MERD) to allow for rescue training in the MERD format without three total teams and a declared winner. Under the existing standard, a local mine rescue contest can be a MERD exercise or a practical simulation exercise. If a mine operator choses a MERD exercise to satisfy the requirements for a local mine rescue contest, the MERD exercise must have three teams and a winner. In MSHA’s experience, revised Instruction Guide IG7 and new Instruction Guide IG7a are resources that will assist coal mine rescue team trainers in providing team members with the necessary knowledge and skills to respond effectively in the event of an emergency. Changes in mine rescue team technologies and practices may necessitate changes in advance mine rescue skills training. When these changes become available, MSHA will provide the public an opportunity to comment. Beginning in 2014, coal mine rescue teams must complete advanced skills training prescribed in IG7 and IG7a to be properly trained under the criteria for certification of coal mine rescue teams in 30 CFR 49.50. The comments and the final instruction guides for advanced mine rescue training of coal mine rescue teams are posted on www.regulations.gov (docket number MSHA–2013–0037) and on MSHA’s Web site at http://www.msha.gov/ MineRescue/Training/ TeamTraining.asp. Authority: 30 U.S.C. 811, 825(e). VerDate Mar<15>2010 23:48 Dec 26, 2013 Jkt 232001 Dated: December 23, 2013. Joseph A. Main, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health. [FR Doc. 2013–31033 Filed 12–26–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510–43–P NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment Request National Science Foundation. Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request. AGENCY: ACTION: The National Science Foundation (NSF) has submitted the following information collection requirement to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104– 13. This is the second notice for public comment; the first was published in the Federal Register at 78 FR 22916, and one comment was received. NSF is forwarding the proposed renewal submission to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance simultaneously with the publication of this second notice. The full submission (including comments) may be found at: http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/ PRAMain. Comments regarding (a) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology should be addressed to: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB, Attention: Desk Officer for National Science Foundation, 725 17th Street NW., Room 10235, Washington, DC 20503, and to Suzanne H. Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1265, Arlington, Virginia 22230 or send email to splimpto@nsf.gov. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1– 800–877–8339, which is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (including federal holidays). SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00203 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Comments regarding these information collections are best assured of having their full effect if received within 30 days of this notification. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling 703–292–7556. NSF may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments: As required by 5 CFR 1320.8(d), comments on the information collection activities as part of this study were solicited through publication of a 60-Day Notice in the Federal Register on April 17, 2013, at 78 FR 22916. We received one comment, to which we here respond. Commenter: The Council on Governmental Relations (COGR) raised a general concern that additional reporting requirements presented added burden on their members. Response: The reporting requirements and estimates on the hourly burden were discussed with the management of the Centers. Center Directors and their management staff, the primary respondents to this data collection, were consulted for feedback on the availability of data, frequency of data collection, the clarity of instructions, and the data elements. Their feedback confirmed that the frequency of data collection was appropriate and that they did not provide these data in other data collections. After consideration of this comment, we are moving forward with our submission to OMB. Title of Collection: Grantee Reporting Requirements for National user facilities managed by the NSF Division of Materials Research. OMB Approval Number: 3145—NEW. Type of Request: Intent to seek approval to establish an information collection. Abstract: The NSF Division of Materials Research (DMR) supports a number of National user facilities that provide specialized capabilities and instrumentation to the scientific community on a competitive proposal basis. In addition to the user program, these facilities support in-house research, development of new instrumentation or techniques, education, and knowledge transfer. The facilities integrate research and education for students and post-docs E:\FR\FM\27DEN1.SGM 27DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 249 (Friday, December 27, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 79010-79012]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-31033]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Mine Safety and Health Administration

[Docket Number MSHA-2013-0037]


Criteria to Certify Coal Mine Rescue Teams

AGENCY: Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This notice informs the public that the Mine Safety and Health 
Administration (MSHA) has updated the coal mine rescue team 
certification criteria. The Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response 
(MINER) Act of 2006 requires MSHA to update these criteria every five 
years. One of the criteria for a mine operator to certify the 
qualifications of a coal mine rescue team is that team members are 
properly

[[Page 79011]]

trained annually. MSHA has updated the prescribed instruction guides 
for annual training of coal mine rescue teams to provide improved 
advanced mine rescue training by including more hands-on skills 
training to enhance team performance when responding to an actual mine 
emergency.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: George F. Triebsch, Director, Office 
of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, MSHA, at 
triebsch.george@dol.gov (email); 202-693-9440 (voice); or 202-693-9441 
(facsimile). These are not toll-free numbers.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    Under title 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations (30 CFR) part 49, 
underground coal mine operators must designate at least two mine rescue 
teams to provide mine rescue coverage at an underground coal mine at 
all times when miners are underground. Underground coal mine operators 
must annually certify the qualifications of these designated teams. 
MSHA provides the criteria for certifying the qualifications of coal 
mine rescue teams under 30 CFR 49.50.
    Initial criteria to certify the qualifications of coal mine rescue 
teams under 30 CFR 49.50 are: (1) Team is available at all times when 
miners are underground; (2) Except where alternative compliance is 
permitted, team has five members and one alternate; (3) Members have 
experience working in an underground coal mine; (4) Team is available 
within 1-hour ground travel time from the mine rescue station to the 
mine; (5) Appropriate mine rescue equipment is provided, inspected, 
tested, and maintained; (6) Members are physically fit; and (7) Members 
have completed initial training.
    The annual criteria to maintain mine rescue team certification 
under 30 CFR 49.50 are: (1) Members are properly trained annually; (2) 
Members are familiar with the operations of each covered mine; (3) 
Members participate in at least two local mine rescue contests 
annually; (4) Members participate in mine rescue training at each 
covered mine; and (5) Members are knowledgeable about the operations 
and ventilation of each covered mine.
    The MINER Act requires MSHA to update the criteria to certify the 
qualifications of mine rescue teams every five years. The revised 
instruction guides do not change the certification criteria listed 
above, but rather update the prescribed training that team members need 
annually to be properly trained. The specific annual training 
requirements are listed at 30 CFR 49.18(b).

II. Revision of Instruction Guides

    The annual training requirements for coal mine rescue teams include 
Sec.  49.18(b)(4), which requires advanced mine rescue training and 
procedures as prescribed by MSHA's Office of Educational Policy and 
Development (EPD). Under this requirement, EPD currently prescribes 
Instruction Guide IG7, ``Advanced Mine Rescue Training--Coal Mines,'' 
which includes best practices, handouts, visuals, and text materials 
for the classroom and activities or exercises for practice using 
equipment and developing teamwork.
    To update this prescribed training, the existing lessons and 
exercises from the current Instruction Guide IG7 were reorganized and 
Instruction Guide IG7a, containing new practical exercises, was added. 
The materials for classroom training are retained as Instruction Guide 
IG7, ``Advanced Mine Rescue Training--Coal Mines,'' and the practice 
exercises are moved to new Instruction Guide IG7a, ``Advanced Skills 
Training--Activities for Coal Mine Rescue Teams.'' Instruction Guide 
IG7a also contains new exercises to assure practice on skills a team 
would need in a mine emergency, as well as expectations training.
    MSHA published a notice in the Federal Register (78 FR 58567) 
announcing the availability of the revised instruction guides on the 
Agency's Web site and soliciting comments to assure that the revised 
instruction guides would improve the quality and effectiveness of 
instruction and skills training for coal mine rescue teams. The comment 
period closed on November 25, 2013.
    MSHA received five comments from industry, state government, 
academia, and a mine rescue association. One commenter stated that IG7a 
provides a good basic format for mine rescue trainers to quickly 
develop training exercises for their mine rescue teams. This commenter 
stated that the expectations training in IG7a was important and 
recommended that MSHA add an expectation that team members can expect 
delays in movement and exploration in an actual emergency. MSHA 
recognizes that it is important for team members to expect delays when 
exploring in an actual emergency due to the time needed to coordinate 
their movements with the Command Center. MSHA added this expectation to 
IG7a.
    A commenter stated that IG7a should include an exercise in the 
actual construction of ventilation controls. There are several 
different types of ventilation controls used in underground coal mining 
and they vary from mine to mine. In MSHA's experience, training in 
ventilation controls, already included in IG7, appropriately addresses 
how to construct a variety of ventilation controls, including temporary 
and permanent stoppings, air locks, and line brattice.
    Another commenter stated that teams would be better trained if the 
training consisted of actually putting out a fire, being exposed to 
heat and dense smoke, and spending more time preparing for an actual 
emergency. MSHA believes that the exercises prescribed in IG7a will 
provide appropriate training in smoke, fire hose management, and 
firefighting.
    A commenter stated that MSHA should revise IG7a to include a 
statement that all skills covered in Instruction Guide IG7a can be 
achieved by participating in a skills contest. Another commenter stated 
that its teams perform the exercises prescribed in IG7a through 
participation in a skills contest. MSHA does not require participation 
in a skills contest. MSHA believes, however, that skills contests 
provide a valuable training experience for mine rescue teams and 
encourages teams to participate in these contests. Participation in a 
skills contest can satisfy the training in IG7a, as long as an exercise 
is included for each skill area prescribed in IG7a.
    A commenter stated that MSHA should revise IG7a to include a smoke 
tube exercise. This commenter also provided recommendations for 
additional materials that MSHA should list as needed for several 
exercises. MSHA revised IG7a to include a smoke tube exercise in which 
tubes filled with a visible chemical smoke are opened and the escaping 
smoke is carried away by any air flow. In the Agency's experience, 
smoke tube training will help prepare teams to determine the 
ventilation direction and measure speed in areas with low air velocity, 
which may be encountered in a mine emergency. Where appropriate, MSHA 
also revised the list of materials needed.
    Another commenter stated that the fire hose management and 
firefighting exercises contained in IG7a are not practical for 
anthracite mine rescue teams because: (1) Of the coal seam's extreme 
pitch; (2) anthracite coal requires more heat to combust; (3) 
anthracite dust does not propagate an explosion; and (4) there are no 
anthracite mines with electrical face equipment.

[[Page 79012]]

    MSHA recognizes that underground anthracite mines are unique. 
Revised IG7a does not include fire hose management or firefighting 
exercises for mine rescue teams for anthracite coal mines that have no 
electrical equipment at the face or working section. In MSHA's 
experience, a mine rescue team would use fire extinguishers, rather 
than hoses, to fight a fire in an underground anthracite mine due to 
the pitch of the entry. MSHA believes that appropriate training in the 
use of fire extinguishers is already provided through the Emergency 
Response Plans at anthracite mines.
    Some commenters stated that the existing requirement that teams 
train at covered mines two times per year be revised to require 
training once per year. This requirement was a provision of the MINER 
Act and is outside the scope of this notice. Another commenter 
suggested that MSHA revise the guidelines for Mine Emergency Response 
Drills (MERD) to allow for rescue training in the MERD format without 
three total teams and a declared winner. Under the existing standard, a 
local mine rescue contest can be a MERD exercise or a practical 
simulation exercise. If a mine operator choses a MERD exercise to 
satisfy the requirements for a local mine rescue contest, the MERD 
exercise must have three teams and a winner.
    In MSHA's experience, revised Instruction Guide IG7 and new 
Instruction Guide IG7a are resources that will assist coal mine rescue 
team trainers in providing team members with the necessary knowledge 
and skills to respond effectively in the event of an emergency. Changes 
in mine rescue team technologies and practices may necessitate changes 
in advance mine rescue skills training. When these changes become 
available, MSHA will provide the public an opportunity to comment.
    Beginning in 2014, coal mine rescue teams must complete advanced 
skills training prescribed in IG7 and IG7a to be properly trained under 
the criteria for certification of coal mine rescue teams in 30 CFR 
49.50.
    The comments and the final instruction guides for advanced mine 
rescue training of coal mine rescue teams are posted on 
www.regulations.gov (docket number MSHA-2013-0037) and on MSHA's Web 
site at http://www.msha.gov/MineRescue/Training/TeamTraining.asp.

    Authority: 30 U.S.C. 811, 825(e).

    Dated: December 23, 2013.
Joseph A. Main,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2013-31033 Filed 12-26-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-43-P