Proximity Detection Systems for Mobile Machines in Underground Mines, 2285-2291 [2017-00105]

Download as PDF mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 5 / Monday, January 9, 2017 / Proposed Rules on November 30, 2016, (81 FR 58424) is reopened. Comments must be received on or before midnight Eastern Standard Time on January 9, 2018. ADDRESSES: Submit comments and informational materials for the rulemaking record, identified by RIN 1219–AB86 or Docket No. MSHA–2014– 0031, by one of the following methods: • Federal E-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments. • E-Mail: zzMSHA-comments@ dol.gov. • Mail: MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 201 12th Street South, Suite 4E401, Arlington, Virginia 22202–5452. • Hand Delivery or Courier: 201 12th Street South, Suite 4E401, Arlington, Virginia, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Sign in at the receptionist’s desk on the 4th floor East, Suite 4E401. • Fax: 202–693–9441. Instructions: All submissions must include ‘‘RIN 1219–AB86’’ or ‘‘Docket No. MSHA–2014–0031.’’ Do not include personal information that you do not want publicly disclosed; MSHA will post all comments without change to http://www.regulations.gov and http:// arlweb.msha.gov/currentcomments.asp, including any personal information provided. Docket: For access to the docket to read comments received, go to http:// www.regulations.gov or http:// arlweb.msha.gov/currentcomments.asp. To read background documents, go to http://www.regulations.gov. Review the docket in person at MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 201 12th Street South, Arlington, Virginia, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. Sign in at the receptionist’s desk in Suite 4E401. E-Mail Notification: To subscribe to receive an email notification when MSHA publishes rules in the Federal Register, go to http://www.msha.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sheila A. McConnell, Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, MSHA, at mcconnell.sheila.a@dol.gov (email), 202–693–9440 (voice); or 202– 693–9441 (facsimile). These are not tollfree numbers. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On June 8, 2016 (81 FR 36826), MSHA published a request for information (RFI) on Exposure of Underground Miners to Diesel Exhaust. The RFI sought input from the public that will help MSHA evaluate the Agency’s existing standards VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 Jan 06, 2017 Jkt 241001 and policy guidance on controlling miners’ exposures to diesel exhaust to evaluate the effectiveness of the protection now in place to preserve miners’ health. On June 27, 2016, (81 FR 41486), MSHA published a notice in the Federal Register announcing four public meetings on the RFI. Public meetings were held on July 19, 21, and 26 and August 4, 2016. The comment period was scheduled to close on September 6, 2016; however, in response to requests from the public, MSHA extended the comment period until November 30, 2016 (81 FR 58424). During the comment period, MSHA received requests for MSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to convene a Diesel Exhaust Health Effects Partnership (Partnership) with the mining industry, diesel engine manufacturers, academia and representatives of organized labor to gather information regarding the complex questions contained in the RFI. In response to these requests, MSHA and NIOSH agreed to form a Partnership that includes all relevant stakeholders from the mining community to come together to understand the health effects from underground miners’ exposure to diesel exhaust. The Partnership will also provide stakeholders an opportunity to consider best practices and new technologies including engineering controls that enhance control of diesel exhaust exposures to improve protections for miners. The first meeting of the Diesel Exhaust Health Effects Partnership was held on December 8, 2016, in Washington, Pennsylvania. During the comment period and at the Partnership meeting, MSHA received requests from stakeholders to reopen the rulemaking record for comment on the RFI and allow the comment period to remain open during the Partnership proceedings. In response to these requests, MSHA is reopening the record for comment and extending the comment period to January 9, 2018. The reopening of the record for comment will allow all interested parties an additional opportunity to re-evaluate all issues related to miners’ exposure to diesel exhaust and to determine if improvements can be made. Joseph A. Main, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health. [FR Doc. 2017–00104 Filed 1–6–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4520–43–P PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 2285 DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Mine Safety and Health Administration 30 CFR Part 75 [Docket No. MSHA–2014–0019] RIN 1219–AB78 Proximity Detection Systems for Mobile Machines in Underground Mines Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor. ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening the comment period. AGENCY: The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is reopening the rulemaking record and requesting additional comments on the Agency’s proposed rule on Proximity Detection Systems for Mobile Machines in Underground Mines which was published in the Federal Register on September 2, 2015. The proposed rule would require underground coal mine operators to equip coal hauling machines and scoops with proximity detection systems. Miners working near these machines face pinning, crushing, and striking hazards that result in accidents involving life-threatening injuries and death. DATES: The comment period for the proposed rule published September 2, 2015 (80 FR 53070) is reopened. Comments must be received by midnight Daylight Saving Time on February 8, 2017. ADDRESSES: Submit comments and informational materials, identified by RIN 1219–AB78 or Docket No. MSHA– 2014–0019 by one of the following methods: • Federal E-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments. • E-Mail: zzMSHA-comments@ dol.gov. • Mail: MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 201 12th Street South, Suite 4E401, Arlington, Virginia 22202–5452. • Hand Delivery or Courier: 201 12th Street South, Suite 4E401, Arlington, Virginia, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Sign in at the receptionist’s desk on the 4th Floor East, Suite 4E401. • Fax: 202–693–9441. Instructions: All submissions must include RIN 1219–AB78 or Docket No. MSHA–2014–0019. Do not include personal information that you do not want publicly disclosed; MSHA will SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\09JAP1.SGM 09JAP1 2286 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 5 / Monday, January 9, 2017 / Proposed Rules post all comments without change, including any personal information provided. Docket: For access to the docket to read comments received, go to http:// www.regulations.gov or http:// www.msha.gov/currentcomments.asp. To read background documents, go to http://www.regulations.gov. Review the docket in person at MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances, 201 12th Street South, Arlington, Virginia, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Sign in at the receptionist’s desk on the 4th Floor East, Suite 4E401. Email notification: To subscribe to receive email notification when the Agency publishes rulemaking documents in the Federal Register, go to http://www.msha.gov/subscriptions. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sheila McConnell, 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: mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS I. Introduction On September 2, 2015, MSHA published a proposed rule, Proximity Detection Systems for Mobile Machines in Underground mines (80 FR 53070). MSHA is reopening the rulemaking record and requesting comments on issues that were raised by commenters during the comment period and on issues that developed after the record closed. MSHA also observed the operation of proximity detection systems on both continuous mining machines and mobile machines (shuttle cars, ram cars and scoops) on working sections in the United States and South Africa after the record closed. There are 106 mobile machines operating on working sections equipped with proximity detection systems in the United States. MSHA visited six mines that operated 79 of these machines. These mines varied by physical, geological, and environmental conditions. MSHA is also including in the rulemaking record MSHA’s field-trip report on the use of proximity detection in South Africa’s underground coal mines and materials presented at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Proximity Detection Partnership Meeting held on June 22, 2016. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 Jan 06, 2017 Jkt 241001 II. Request for Comments 1. Requirements for Proximity Detection Systems Proposed § 75.1733(b)(1) would require that a proximity detection system cause a machine to stop before contacting a miner except for a miner who is in the on-board operator’s compartment. MSHA requested comments on the types of machine movement the proximity detection system should stop. Commenters did not support the total de-energization of all functions of the equipment. One commenter noted that a ‘‘stop all machine movement’’ requirement cannot be applied universally to all mobile equipment covered by this proposed rule. The commenter noted that mine operators need the flexibility to configure proximity detection systems and machine responses based on the individual applications needed underground. In support of this comment, the commenter stated that machines that interact with other equipment, machines that require a ground-standing operator to be in contact with the machine, and machines that lack specific capabilities for motion control may need allowances outside of prescriptive requirements. As an example, the commenter stated that shuttle cars and ram cars do not require a miner to stand on the ground nearby to perform required tasks; however, scoops require a miner to touch or be near the machine to do certain work. One commenter also noted that proximity detection systems present significant problems for performing trouble-shooting and maintenance activities. The commenter provided an example of a mechanic trying to identify a leaking hydraulic hose; the mechanic must remove the miner-wearable component for the machine to be started because the mechanic has to be inside a red zone to diagnose the source of the leak. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) also commented that requiring all machine movement to stop would potentially limit the development and application of advanced technology for selective shutdown features. NIOSH stated that currently available systems are not capable of providing the level of protection required in the industry while maintaining the operator’s freedom to efficiently perform the job. NIOSH further stated that to be acceptable to the miners and to avoid false alarms, a proximity detection system must provide the necessary protection while still allowing normal operation of the machine. PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 MSHA observed mobile machines with proximity detection systems operating during coal production on working sections. These proximity detection systems functioned as designed to prevent pinning, crushing, and striking accidents. Four of the six mines that MSHA visited in the United States, after the record closed, had proximity detection systems on mobile machines and continuous mining machines on the working section except for full-face mining machines. The mobile machines included shuttle cars, ram cars, and scoops. These mine operators provided all miners on these working sections with miner-wearable components. MSHA solicits additional comments on whether currently available proximity detection systems are capable of preventing coal hauling machines and scoops from pinning, crushing, and striking miners while maintaining the machine operator’s freedom to efficiently perform the job. Under proposed § 75.1733(b)(1), MSHA would consider stopping a coal hauling machine or scoop to consist of causing it to cease tramming or articulating any part of a machine that could cause the machine to contact a miner. Tramming means to move the machine in a forward or reverse direction. Articulating includes an act of moving or pivoting at a joint, such as when a mobile machine may pivot towards a rib such that the movement could result in pinning, striking, or crushing a miner. Under the proposal, the machine would remain stopped while any miner is within a programmed stop zone. Unexpected tramming and articulation in the direction of a miner may be hazardous. However, MSHA is considering whether it is necessary to stop the movement of all parts of the machine, such as auxiliary movements, as long as the tramming and articulating machine motion that can pin, crush, or strike a miner is stopped. In MSHA’s experience, striking, pinning, or crushing hazards are not caused by auxiliary functions such as operation of a pump motor or diesel engine, ram extension, winch movement, vertical bucket movement, or battery lift. MSHA is also aware of proximity detection system features that only allow authorized miners to perform maintenance. For example, an authorized miner may swipe an identification card over a card reader mounted on the machine or have a separate miner-wearable component that is programmed to allow a miner to perform maintenance. The proximity detection system records each time E:\FR\FM\09JAP1.SGM 09JAP1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 5 / Monday, January 9, 2017 / Proposed Rules maintenance is performed. Miners authorized to perform maintenance on machines equipped with proximity detection systems would continue to observe standard safety procedures, such as removing stored energy and blocking the machine to prevent motion, while maintaining and repairing the machine. MSHA is considering a revision to proposed § 75.1733(b)(1) that would require a proximity detection system to stop a machine from tramming or articulating before contacting a miner except for a miner who (i) is in the onboard operator’s compartment, or (ii) performing maintenance with the proximity detection system in maintenance mode. MSHA observed a miner and a scoop operator perform maintenance by changing the battery on a scoop equipped with a proximity detection system. The miner stayed near the scoop, directed the scoop operator’s movement of the machine, and maintained a safe position outside of the proximity detection system’s warning zone. MSHA also observed a ram car equipped with a proximity detection system that was installed and programmed to modify its warning and shutdown zone dimensions to allow miners to safely approach the machine to perform maintenance and repairs without causing it to shut down. The warning and shutdown zones extended around the entire machine perimeter during normal operation; however, activating the parking brake reduced these zones to encompass only the pinch point areas around the articulation joint. MSHA solicits comments on the types of machine movement a proximity detection system should allow for miners to perform necessary maintenance without exposing them to pinning, crushing, or striking hazards. MSHA also solicits comments on miners’ and mine operators’ experiences with proximity detection systems that allow a miner to conduct maintenance on a machine without activating the stop movement function. Several commenters also noted that sudden stopping of equipment presents hazards for on-board machine operators. A commenter noted that sudden stops and equipment shut downs, like any other unexpected operations, could put the operator of the machine at risk of injury or death based on the size and speed of the machine, and other related factors. One commenter stated concerns that the requirement to stop the machine before contacting a miner could create a hazard for machine operators, especially diesel-powered VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 Jan 06, 2017 Jkt 241001 machine operators since their ground speed is typically faster than electricpowered machines. However, another commenter stated that MSHA should not require that machines slow down before stopping because some machines, such as battery-powered direct current traction drives, do not have this capability; in some cases, it is more important to stop the machine as fast as possible to prevent contact with miners. NIOSH commented that field tests of proximity detection systems on continuous mining machines and input from stakeholders found that detection range, environmental effects/limitations, detection accuracy, and system repeatability are considered critical parameters. MSHA observed mobile machines operating in mines in the United States with properly functioning proximity detection systems of various manufacturers with appropriate zone dimensions. These mobile machines worked in a range of seam heights, in dry and wet conditions, on varying grades, with and without wire mesh, with various mine ventilation controls. In MSHA’s experience, mine operators work with machine manufacturers and proximity detection system manufacturers to determine the appropriate warning and shutdown zones for the specific mining conditions and practices that the machine encounters. MSHA is aware that proximity detection system manufacturers provide site-specific testing during commissioning of proximity detection systems. MSHA also observed proximity detection system testing used to confirm appropriate zone dimensions for the equipment and the mining conditions at the time of commissioning. MSHA solicits additional comments on appropriate warning and stopping zones for each type of machine movement and various mining conditions including any differences in cost for differing conditions or machines. Current NIOSH research is identifying critical parameters that impact the performance of proximity detection systems on mobile machines, such as stopping distances and deceleration rates. MSHA is aware that NIOSH research on proximity detection systems for underground mobile equipment is scheduled to conclude in September, 2018. Several commenters expressed concern that the Agency will require proximity detection systems to be installed on coal haulage machines and scoops before the findings from NIOSH research on proximity detection systems on underground mobile machines are released. MSHA is also aware that some mine operators have installed and are PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 2287 operating proximity detection systems on mobile machines. MSHA observed variations in the installation, maintenance and performance of these systems. MSHA anticipates that a final rule would provide minimum standards for installation, performance, maintenance, and recordkeeping to assure that miners are adequately protected. MSHA observed several dynamic tests of mobile machines equipped with proximity detection systems in which the machine decelerated to a full stop without injury to the on-board operator. MSHA also observed warning and shutdown zone incursions on mobile machines equipped with proximity detection systems that are being used on working sections during normal mine production operations. These proximity detection systems appropriately slowed and/or stopped these mobile machines without injuring the on-board machine operator. MSHA is not aware of any on-board operator injuries resulting from a proximity detection system decelerating and/or stopping a mobile machine. MSHA will continue to work with original equipment manufacturers, proximity detection system manufacturers, NIOSH, States, and mine operators to consider the benefits and timing of requiring proximity detection systems on mobile machines in underground coal mines. MSHA solicited and received several comments on how the use of proximity detection systems and the overlap of proximity detection system protection zones on multiple types of machines operating on the same working section might affect miners’ work positions. One commenter stated that testing, which was conducted in a controlled environment, demonstrated that it was impossible to provide full coverage on the rear section of the coal hauler without creating a shutdown zone in the locations where the continuous mining machine operator was required to stand. A modification to the system allowed the shutdown zone to shrink as the coal hauler backed into the loading position. Due to the shape of the zone, however, the modification removed protective coverage of the rear corners of the coal hauler. MSHA observed continuous mining machines and mobile machines equipped with proximity detection systems successfully interact during production on working sections where all of the miners had miner-wearable components. MSHA solicits additional information regarding how coal hauling machines using proximity detection systems work with continuous mining machines equipped with proximity E:\FR\FM\09JAP1.SGM 09JAP1 mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS 2288 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 5 / Monday, January 9, 2017 / Proposed Rules detection systems while allowing continuous mining machine operators to remain in a safe location. MSHA is interested in additional information describing the installation and programming of proximity detection systems and examples of related work practices established to assure that the continuous mining machine operator remains outside of the coal hauling machine warning and shutdown zones. Another commenter observed, during tests of proximity detection systems on continuous mining machines and battery haulers, instances in which miners (primarily continuous mining machine operators) could not properly perform necessary tasks without getting closer to the continuous mining machine than the proximity detection system allowed. The commenter noted that without the capability to temporarily bypass proximity detection, these personnel would either be forced to operate equipment without a clear line of sight or they would need to stand in conditions that pose different hazards, such as roof or rib hazards, or in locations that are not permitted under other regulations. The commenter recommended that the proximity detection system regulation for mobile equipment allow for personnel to temporarily bypass proximity detection when such conditions are encountered. MSHA may consider such a feature and seeks comment on the availability, use, and appropriateness of a temporary bypass feature. MSHA solicits information regarding how this feature could work with existing proximity detection systems and specific benefits or hazards that could result. One commenter noted that coal haulers and scoops would encounter sensors (miner-wearable components) much more frequently during operation than would continuous mining machines. Thus, there is an increased potential for nuisance tripping caused by inadvertent exposure into the detection zones of coal haulers, scoops, and other equipment. The commenter further noted the operation of equipment during the mining process requires multiple machines to operate, often in close proximity and can result in cross zone interference and nuisance tripping. As an example, the commenter noted a mine had to install additional equipment to help alleviate the cross zone interference issue. MSHA is aware that proximity detection system manufacturers must consider the interaction of machines with on-board operators to prevent unnecessary shut downs. MSHA observed a loading machine on which proximity detection equipment was installed to provide a VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 Jan 06, 2017 Jkt 241001 silent zone for the on-board loading machine operator. This silent zone allowed the shuttle car to approach the loading machine without the loading machine operator causing the shuttle car to stop. MSHA is also aware that proximity detection system manufacturers have addressed this situation through programming minerwearable components with specific permissions. In addition, MSHA received a comment from a machine manufacturer stating that its field testing experience with coal customers within the United States demonstrates measurable section production tonnage drops, within five to ten percent of normal production levels, when proximity detection is active on haulage equipment. MSHA is aware of mine operators that installed proximity detection systems on all mobile machines on the working section and experienced production decreases. Two of these mine operators reported that production later returned to pre-installation levels. MSHA observed that miners with experience working with mobile machines equipped with proximity detection systems are aware of the warning and shutdown zone locations and position themselves to minimize machine shutdowns. MSHA did observe a proximity detection system provide both a warning and then shut down the machine while the miner-wearable component was physically located outside the established warning and shutdown zones. This mine operator reported working with the proximity detection system manufacturer to resolve this type of occurrence. MSHA is aware of proximity detection system manufacturers that have mitigated nuisance alarms and other issues through engineering solutions. MSHA is also aware that proximity detection system manufacturers continue to improve their technology and develop solutions to minimize unwarranted warnings and shutdowns. MSHA solicits definitive data, including cost and time estimates, on delays in production caused by proximity detection system alarms due to cross zone interference and nuisance tripping as well as data on the length of time to return to pre-installation production levels. MSHA also seeks information on how to reduce or eliminate production delays when working with mobile machines equipped with proximity detection systems. MSHA solicits comments on how miners can place themselves in a safe work position to avoid causing nuisance alarms when one or more machines PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 with proximity detection systems are on the working section. MSHA also solicits comments on miners’ and mine operators’ experiences when more than one miner may be in close proximity to one or more machines with proximity detection systems. MSHA solicited and received several comments on proposed training for miners who operate or work near machines equipped with proximity detection systems. NIOSH commented that gaining an in-depth view of miners’ perspectives and how their job tasks and environment could be or are affected and then incorporating that information into training may help to prevent accidents and injuries that have been labeled as human error in the workplace. NIOSH further commented that studies of continuous mining machine operators have found that unintended consequences, such as a disruption in situational awareness, risks, hazards, and decision-making capabilities, can be avoided if human factors considerations are integrated into each stage of the technology design and implementation process. In addition, NIOSH stated that each piece of equipment needs to have a uniquely prescribed proximity system and the methods and amounts of training for each system should be designed specifically for each system and common platforms established where possible. One commenter stated that it has been evaluating and testing proximity detection system technologies since 2011. The commenter further stated that inadequate situational awareness is one of the primary factors in incidents attributed to human error and that the primary purpose of any proximity detection system/collision avoidance technology is to enhance situational awareness. Another commenter stated that proximity detection system technology has the potential to dangerously change how miners interact with mobile equipment in underground mines. The commenter further stated that it has witnessed multiple instances where miners have taken higher risks because of a false sense of security and that implementation of proximity detection systems on all mobile machines will lead miners to unsafely rely on the devices and act contrary to their intuition and training. In addition, the commenter stated that the first priority [of the final rule] should be a safe working position for a miner or machine operator, and second a noncontact rule. MSHA has observed miners relocate themselves to safer locations because of proximity detection system visible and E:\FR\FM\09JAP1.SGM 09JAP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 5 / Monday, January 9, 2017 / Proposed Rules mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS audible warnings. These warnings increased the miner’s situational awareness regarding their location with respect to hazardous areas around the mobile machines. MSHA is interested in receiving additional information on miners’ and mine operators’ experiences with the effect that proximity detection systems have on miners’ and machine operators’ situational awareness and any examples where reliance on proximity detection technology may cause the miner to develop work practices that introduce additional hazards. MSHA observed representatives of mine operators and proximity detection system manufacturers provide instruction and task training to miners on the working section where proximity detection systems have been installed on mobile machines. Miners have demonstrated their knowledge of the installation, maintenance, and use of proximity detection systems to MSHA personnel. For example, MSHA observed one mine operator instruct miners to move into a crosscut adjacent to a coal haulage travelway. This increased their distance from the coal haulage travelway, averted unwanted proximity zone incursions, and ultimately placed the workers in a safer location. MSHA also observed a South African mine operator utilize data reports from the proximity detection systems to reinforce safe work practices specified in company policy. These data reports logged the instances when miner-wearable components entered the established warning and shutdown zones. MSHA is also interested in miners’, mine operators’ and proximity detection system manufacturers’ experiences with training that could be done to increase miners’ and machine operators’ situational awareness around machines with proximity detection systems. 2. Electromagnetic Interference Electrical systems used in the mine, including proximity detection systems, can adversely affect the function of other electrical systems through the generation of electromagnetic interference. Several commenters noted that electromagnetic interference generated from a variety of external sources can adversely affect the performance of proximity detection systems. Several commenters stated that electromagnetic interference prevents proximity detection systems from functioning as designed. Another commenter stated that, because of electromagnetic interference, the proximity detection system failed to locate the miner-wearable component VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 Jan 06, 2017 Jkt 241001 with any level of accuracy or consistency. The commenter further stated that, as a result, it was nearly impossible for the coal hauler to work in close proximity to the continuous miner or operator. In addition, on April 6, 2016, MSHA was made aware of concerns from mine operators regarding electromagnetic interferences with proximity detection systems from respirable coal mine dust sampling devices. On April 15 and May 2, 2016, MSHA notified underground coal mine operators who have a proximity detection system installed on any equipment that they should identify sources of any electromagnetic interference that adversely affect the performance of the proximity detection system. The above-referenced notices are included in the rulemaking record. Proposed § 75.1733(b)(5) would require a mine operator to install a proximity detection system to prevent interference that adversely affects performance of any electrical system. MSHA clarifies that proposed § 75.1733(b)(5) would require mine operators to prevent electromagnetic interference from affecting the operation of the proximity detection system or any other electrical system. MSHA intends that the system would be installed, maintained and operated in such a way that no electrical systems would be adversely affected due to interference. This would require periodic postinstallation evaluation of all new potential sources of electromagnetic interference. To clarify this intent, MSHA is considering a revision to proposed § 75.1733(b)(5) that would require proximity detection systems to be both installed and operated in a manner that prevents interferences that adversely affect the performance of any electrical system, including the proximity detection system. The operation of other electrical systems and equipment must not interfere with the performance of the proximity detection system, and the proximity detection system must not interfere with the performance of other electrical systems. MSHA has found that one type of common interference can be identified when electrical devices are placed within several inches of the minerwearable component of the proximity detection system. Electromagnetic interference between these two systems can be mitigated by maintaining a minimum distance between a minerwearable component and electrical devices. MSHA’s technical staff estimated that each mine would require an average of 20 hours for a mining engineer to identify sources of PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 2289 electromagnetic interference and the minimum distance needed to mitigate the interference. Mining engineers will test the compatibility between electrical devices and proximity detection system components. Tests will be based on equipment use and mining conditions. MSHA anticipates that mining engineers will conduct physical tests for compatibility, review equipment user manuals, and consult with the original equipment manufacturers and the proximity detection system manufacturer. Based on MSHA’s mine visits, the Agency estimated that mine operators are likely, on average, to introduce new electrical equipment twice per year. This would require a mining engineer two hours to identify and mitigate adverse interference from the new electrical equipment. Holding all other variables of the preliminary regulatory economic analysis constant, MSHA estimated that, on average, it would cost each mine operator $3,500 over ten years to comply with proposed § 75.1733(b)(5). MSHA seeks comments on the cost drivers for compatibility testing and the Agency’s cost estimate for proposed § 75.1733(b)(5). MSHA is aware of best practices that mine operators and proximity detection system manufacturers have established to minimize the effects of electromagnetic interference. MSHA is aware that proximity detection system manufacturers have stated that minimum separation distances need to be maintained between miner-wearable components and other electrical equipment. During mine visits, miners have demonstrated the ability to maintain sufficient separation between miner-wearable components and other equipment to ensure proper proximity detection system function. MSHA is also aware of mine operators that have added inline filters on variable frequency drive shuttle cars to reduce electromagnetic emission interference. MSHA is aware of an electrical equipment manufacturer that added material designed to provide electromagnetic shielding to its gas detection equipment which reportedly reduced interference with proximity detection systems. MSHA solicits comments on the methods and practices mine operators have used or could use to identify sources of electromagnetic interference. MSHA is also interested in receiving information on the actions an operator has taken or could take to prevent such interference and how electromagnetic interference can be mitigated in instances where a miner needs to wear E:\FR\FM\09JAP1.SGM 09JAP1 2290 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 5 / Monday, January 9, 2017 / Proposed Rules mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS multiple miner-wearable components because different proximity detection system models are operating on a working section. Please also describe procedures that were successful and those that were not successful in identifying interferences, as well as solutions to prevent adverse interference. MSHA has observed that wire mesh and metallic equipment can affect the proximity detection systems’ warning and stopping zones. MSHA has also received reports of some pyrite deposits within coal seams affecting the use of the proximity detection system, but has not observed this effect first-hand. MSHA solicits information and data from mine operators and proximity detection system manufacturers on best practices to minimize the effects of these non-electrical interferences. Since the record closed, MSHA became aware of a proximity detection system design feature on a minerwearable component that determines if the magnetic field sensing coils have been affected by electromagnetic interference and can no longer detect the magnetic field generated by the machine-mounted components. This feature provides a distinct audible and visible alarm on the miner-wearable component to alert miners when it is not functioning properly due to electromagnetic interference. MSHA is considering requiring this design feature for all miner-wearable components. MSHA solicits comments on the cost and availability of, and experience with, any proximity detection system feature or other technology that automatically alerts the miner or machine operator when the miner-wearable component or proximity detection system is not functioning properly due to electromagnetic interference. 3. Proximity Detection System Checks Proposed § 75.1733(c)(1) would require that a mine operator designate a person to perform a check of machinemounted components of the proximity detection system to verify that components are intact and the system is functioning properly, and to take action to correct defects. MSHA clarifies that under proposed paragraph (c)(1), the check would include verification that the warning and shutdown zones are set for the established proximity detection field distances and to meet the performance requirements under proposed § 75.1733(b)(1) and (b)(2). Under proposed § 75.1733(c)(1), the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 Jan 06, 2017 Jkt 241001 person designated to perform the check would verify that the machine-mounted components are intact and correctly mounted and the system is operating properly to identify a miner-wearable component and stop the machine. The check assures that the warning and shutdown zones around the perimeter of the machine are set according to a mine operator’s specifications. In MSHA’s experience, proximity detection system manufacturers have determined the type of checks that should be conducted to assure that their system is functioning properly. Mine operators are expected to follow the check procedures suggested by the manufacturers. MSHA has observed that a check of the warning and shutdown zones can be made by a miner walking around the machine with a miner-wearable component to confirm proper zone range. MSHA has also observed checking the machine shutdown function of the proximity detection system. This check involves placing a miner wearable component inside the shutdown zone and then attempting to initiate machine movements such as tramming. If the proximity detection system prevents machine movement, the system is functioning properly. The check would also include an examination of the machine-mounted components to assure that the field generators, antennas, cabling, and other components are undamaged and correctly mounted. The check would also assure that appropriate audible and visual warning signals are working as required. MSHA solicits comments on how the warning and shutdown zones can be checked, or tested, without putting machine operators at risk. With the clarification in this notice, MSHA estimates that the average time required for a check, which includes a verification that the warning and shutdown zones are set to meet the performance requirements under proposed § 75.1733(b)(1) and (b)(2), would increase from 20 seconds to 6 minutes. MSHA’s revised estimate of 6 minutes reflects the time needed to: (1) Verify that the machine-mounted components are intact and correctly mounted and the system is operating properly to identify a miner-wearable component and stop the machine, and (2) test and validate that the warning and stopping zones meet performance requirements. MSHA substituted the 6 minutes into the calculations of the proposed rule, held all other variables PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 constant, and calculated that the average 10-year cost per mine increase would be $182,000. Many other assumptions and data values will be updated in a final regulatory analysis. MSHA seeks comments on the Agency’s revisions to its proposed time estimate to comply with § 75.1733(c)(1). 4. South Africa Field-Trip Report and NIOSH Partnership Meeting The rulemaking record includes MSHA’s Field-Trip Report on Proximity Detection Use in South Africa. On April 2 through April 13, 2016, MSHA and NIOSH representatives visited South Africa to investigate the progress of proximity detection system technology in South Africa. The group visited two proximity detection system manufacturing facilities and observed proximity detection system performance in three underground coal mines. In addition, the group met with a proximity detection system technology developer with experience in proximity detection system development in South Africa and other countries. Among other topics, they discussed the developer’s experiences with proximity detection system interference in South Africa. MSHA and NIOSH also met with representatives of South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources on the implementation of proximity detection systems on electric-powered, trackless mobile machinery in South Africa’s surface and underground mines. MSHA’s report and presentation materials from the South Africa trip are included in the rulemaking record and available for comment. MSHA has also included in the rulemaking record materials from the NIOSH Proximity Detection Partnership Meeting. On June 22, 2016, NIOSH held a partnership meeting that included representatives from MSHA, industry, labor, and proximity detection system manufacturers. Materials presented during the partnership meeting are included in the rulemaking record and available for comment. III. Compliance Cost Revision MSHA initially estimated that the proposed rule would cost mine operators, over ten years, approximately $536,000 per mine. MSHA has revised estimates for two provisions to reflect the Agency’s clarification on the proposed requirements. Table 1 summarizes the changes to estimated cost for these two provisions. E:\FR\FM\09JAP1.SGM 09JAP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 5 / Monday, January 9, 2017 / Proposed Rules 2291 TABLE 1—AVERAGE 10-YEAR TOTAL COST PER MINE Average 10-year per mine cost Total 10-Year Cost as Proposed on 09/02/2015 ..................................................................................................... Changes: Proximity Detection System Checks ................................................................................................................ Electromagnetic Interference Evaluation .......................................................................................................... $536,000 Total Change ............................................................................................................................................. 185,500 Total Revised Cost .................................................................................................................................................. Percent increase in average cost per mine ............................................................................................................. The rulemaking record and comment period for the proposed rule is reopened until February 8, 2017. MSHA solicits comments on all aspects of the proposed rule. The Agency requests that comments be specific as possible and include any technological and economic feasibility data. Joseph A. Main, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health. [FR Doc. 2017–00105 Filed 1–6–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4520–43–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 100 I. Table of Abbreviations [Docket Number USCG–2016–0940] RIN 1625–AA08 Special Local Regulation; Manatee River; Bradenton, FL Coast Guard, DHS. Notice of proposed rulemaking. AGENCY: ACTION: The Coast Guard proposes to establish a special local regulation for certain waters of the Manatee River during the Bradenton Area River Regatta. This action is necessary to protect the safety of race participants, participant vessels, spectators, and the general public on these navigable waters of the United States during the event. The special local regulation would restrict vessel traffic in the waters of the Manatee River in the vicinity of Bradenton, Florida. It would establish the following three areas: Two spectator areas, where all vessels must be anchored or operate at No Wake Speed; and an enforcement area where designated representatives may control vessel traffic as determined by the prevailing conditions. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 Jan 06, 2017 Jkt 241001 Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before February 8, 2017. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG– 2016–0940 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http:// www.regulations.gov. See the ‘‘Public Participation and Request for Comments’’ portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions about this proposed rulemaking, call or email Boatswain’s Mate First Class Tyrone J. Stafford, Sector St. Petersburg Prevention Department, Coast Guard; telephone 813–228–2191, email Tyrone.J.Stafford@ uscg.mil. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DATES: CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking Pub. L. Public Law § Section U.S.C. United States Code II. Background, Purpose, and Legal Basis The Coast Guard proposes to establish a special local regulation on the waters of the Manatee River, Bradenton, Florida during the Bradenton Area River Regatta. This event is a high speed boat race with approximately 12 Formula 2 Class boats, traveling at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. There will also be approximately 14, 1000 cc Hydrocross jet skis participating in scheduled races during this event. Additionally, there will be a jet ski and water ski exhibition located within the regulated area. It is anticipated that 250 spectator vessels will be present along the race course. The race is scheduled to take place annually from approximately 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the first Saturday of February. PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 182,000 3,500 $721,500 35% This proposed rulemaking is necessary to provide for the safety of race participants, participant vessels, spectators, and the general public on these navigable waters of the United States during the Bradenton Area River Regatta. The Coast Guard proposes this rulemaking under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1233. III. Discussion of Proposed Rule This proposed rulemaking would encompass certain waters of the Manatee River in Bradenton, Florida. The special local regulation would be enforced from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. normally occurring during the first Saturday of February. The special local regulation would establish the following three areas: (1) Two spectator areas, where all vessels must be anchored or operate at No Wake Speed; and (2) an enforcement area that encompasses all race courses and demonstrations, where designated representatives may control vessel traffic as determined by the prevailing conditions. Persons and vessels may request authorization to enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within the regulated area by contacting the Captain of the Port St. Petersburg by telephone at 727–824–7506, or a designated representative via VHF radio on channel 16. If authorization to enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within the regulated area is granted by the Captain of the Port St. Petersburg or a designated representative, all persons and vessels receiving such authorization must comply with the instructions of the Captain of the Port St. Petersburg or a designated representative. The Coast Guard will provide notice of the special local regulation by Local Notice to Mariners, Broadcast Notice to Mariners, and/or on-scene designated representatives. IV. Regulatory Analyses We developed this proposed rule after considering numerous statutes and Executive Orders related to rulemaking. E:\FR\FM\09JAP1.SGM 09JAP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 5 (Monday, January 9, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 2285-2291]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-00105]


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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Mine Safety and Health Administration

30 CFR Part 75

[Docket No. MSHA-2014-0019]
RIN 1219-AB78


Proximity Detection Systems for Mobile Machines in Underground 
Mines

AGENCY: Mine Safety and Health Administration, Labor.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening the comment period.

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

SUMMARY: The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is reopening 
the rulemaking record and requesting additional comments on the 
Agency's proposed rule on Proximity Detection Systems for Mobile 
Machines in Underground Mines which was published in the Federal 
Register on September 2, 2015. The proposed rule would require 
underground coal mine operators to equip coal hauling machines and 
scoops with proximity detection systems. Miners working near these 
machines face pinning, crushing, and striking hazards that result in 
accidents involving life-threatening injuries and death.

DATES: The comment period for the proposed rule published September 2, 
2015 (80 FR 53070) is reopened. Comments must be received by midnight 
Daylight Saving Time on February 8, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments and informational materials, identified by 
RIN 1219-AB78 or Docket No. MSHA-2014-0019 by one of the following 
methods:
     Federal E-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
     E-Mail: zzMSHA-comments@dol.gov.
     Mail: MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and 
Variances, 201 12th Street South, Suite 4E401, Arlington, Virginia 
22202-5452.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: 201 12th Street South, Suite 
4E401, Arlington, Virginia, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays. Sign in at the receptionist's 
desk on the 4th Floor East, Suite 4E401.
     Fax: 202-693-9441.
    Instructions: All submissions must include RIN 1219-AB78 or Docket 
No. MSHA-2014-0019. Do not include personal information that you do not 
want publicly disclosed; MSHA will

[[Page 2286]]

post all comments without change, including any personal information 
provided.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read comments received, go to 
http://www.regulations.gov or http://www.msha.gov/currentcomments.asp. 
To read background documents, go to http://www.regulations.gov. Review 
the docket in person at MSHA, Office of Standards, Regulations, and 
Variances, 201 12th Street South, Arlington, Virginia, between 9:00 
a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. 
Sign in at the receptionist's desk on the 4th Floor East, Suite 4E401.
    Email notification: To subscribe to receive email notification when 
the Agency publishes rulemaking documents in the Federal Register, go 
to http://www.msha.gov/subscriptions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sheila McConnell, 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:

I. Introduction

    On September 2, 2015, MSHA published a proposed rule, Proximity 
Detection Systems for Mobile Machines in Underground mines (80 FR 
53070). MSHA is reopening the rulemaking record and requesting comments 
on issues that were raised by commenters during the comment period and 
on issues that developed after the record closed.
    MSHA also observed the operation of proximity detection systems on 
both continuous mining machines and mobile machines (shuttle cars, ram 
cars and scoops) on working sections in the United States and South 
Africa after the record closed. There are 106 mobile machines operating 
on working sections equipped with proximity detection systems in the 
United States. MSHA visited six mines that operated 79 of these 
machines. These mines varied by physical, geological, and environmental 
conditions. MSHA is also including in the rulemaking record MSHA's 
field-trip report on the use of proximity detection in South Africa's 
underground coal mines and materials presented at the National 
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Proximity 
Detection Partnership Meeting held on June 22, 2016.

II. Request for Comments

1. Requirements for Proximity Detection Systems

    Proposed Sec.  75.1733(b)(1) would require that a proximity 
detection system cause a machine to stop before contacting a miner 
except for a miner who is in the on-board operator's compartment. MSHA 
requested comments on the types of machine movement the proximity 
detection system should stop. Commenters did not support the total de-
energization of all functions of the equipment. One commenter noted 
that a ``stop all machine movement'' requirement cannot be applied 
universally to all mobile equipment covered by this proposed rule. The 
commenter noted that mine operators need the flexibility to configure 
proximity detection systems and machine responses based on the 
individual applications needed underground. In support of this comment, 
the commenter stated that machines that interact with other equipment, 
machines that require a ground-standing operator to be in contact with 
the machine, and machines that lack specific capabilities for motion 
control may need allowances outside of prescriptive requirements. As an 
example, the commenter stated that shuttle cars and ram cars do not 
require a miner to stand on the ground nearby to perform required 
tasks; however, scoops require a miner to touch or be near the machine 
to do certain work.
    One commenter also noted that proximity detection systems present 
significant problems for performing trouble-shooting and maintenance 
activities. The commenter provided an example of a mechanic trying to 
identify a leaking hydraulic hose; the mechanic must remove the miner-
wearable component for the machine to be started because the mechanic 
has to be inside a red zone to diagnose the source of the leak.
    The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) 
also commented that requiring all machine movement to stop would 
potentially limit the development and application of advanced 
technology for selective shutdown features. NIOSH stated that currently 
available systems are not capable of providing the level of protection 
required in the industry while maintaining the operator's freedom to 
efficiently perform the job. NIOSH further stated that to be acceptable 
to the miners and to avoid false alarms, a proximity detection system 
must provide the necessary protection while still allowing normal 
operation of the machine.
    MSHA observed mobile machines with proximity detection systems 
operating during coal production on working sections. These proximity 
detection systems functioned as designed to prevent pinning, crushing, 
and striking accidents. Four of the six mines that MSHA visited in the 
United States, after the record closed, had proximity detection systems 
on mobile machines and continuous mining machines on the working 
section except for full-face mining machines. The mobile machines 
included shuttle cars, ram cars, and scoops. These mine operators 
provided all miners on these working sections with miner-wearable 
components.
    MSHA solicits additional comments on whether currently available 
proximity detection systems are capable of preventing coal hauling 
machines and scoops from pinning, crushing, and striking miners while 
maintaining the machine operator's freedom to efficiently perform the 
job.
    Under proposed Sec.  75.1733(b)(1), MSHA would consider stopping a 
coal hauling machine or scoop to consist of causing it to cease 
tramming or articulating any part of a machine that could cause the 
machine to contact a miner. Tramming means to move the machine in a 
forward or reverse direction. Articulating includes an act of moving or 
pivoting at a joint, such as when a mobile machine may pivot towards a 
rib such that the movement could result in pinning, striking, or 
crushing a miner. Under the proposal, the machine would remain stopped 
while any miner is within a programmed stop zone. Unexpected tramming 
and articulation in the direction of a miner may be hazardous. However, 
MSHA is considering whether it is necessary to stop the movement of all 
parts of the machine, such as auxiliary movements, as long as the 
tramming and articulating machine motion that can pin, crush, or strike 
a miner is stopped. In MSHA's experience, striking, pinning, or 
crushing hazards are not caused by auxiliary functions such as 
operation of a pump motor or diesel engine, ram extension, winch 
movement, vertical bucket movement, or battery lift.
    MSHA is also aware of proximity detection system features that only 
allow authorized miners to perform maintenance. For example, an 
authorized miner may swipe an identification card over a card reader 
mounted on the machine or have a separate miner-wearable component that 
is programmed to allow a miner to perform maintenance. The proximity 
detection system records each time

[[Page 2287]]

maintenance is performed. Miners authorized to perform maintenance on 
machines equipped with proximity detection systems would continue to 
observe standard safety procedures, such as removing stored energy and 
blocking the machine to prevent motion, while maintaining and repairing 
the machine.
    MSHA is considering a revision to proposed Sec.  75.1733(b)(1) that 
would require a proximity detection system to stop a machine from 
tramming or articulating before contacting a miner except for a miner 
who (i) is in the on-board operator's compartment, or (ii) performing 
maintenance with the proximity detection system in maintenance mode.
    MSHA observed a miner and a scoop operator perform maintenance by 
changing the battery on a scoop equipped with a proximity detection 
system. The miner stayed near the scoop, directed the scoop operator's 
movement of the machine, and maintained a safe position outside of the 
proximity detection system's warning zone. MSHA also observed a ram car 
equipped with a proximity detection system that was installed and 
programmed to modify its warning and shutdown zone dimensions to allow 
miners to safely approach the machine to perform maintenance and 
repairs without causing it to shut down. The warning and shutdown zones 
extended around the entire machine perimeter during normal operation; 
however, activating the parking brake reduced these zones to encompass 
only the pinch point areas around the articulation joint.
    MSHA solicits comments on the types of machine movement a proximity 
detection system should allow for miners to perform necessary 
maintenance without exposing them to pinning, crushing, or striking 
hazards. MSHA also solicits comments on miners' and mine operators' 
experiences with proximity detection systems that allow a miner to 
conduct maintenance on a machine without activating the stop movement 
function.
    Several commenters also noted that sudden stopping of equipment 
presents hazards for on-board machine operators. A commenter noted that 
sudden stops and equipment shut downs, like any other unexpected 
operations, could put the operator of the machine at risk of injury or 
death based on the size and speed of the machine, and other related 
factors. One commenter stated concerns that the requirement to stop the 
machine before contacting a miner could create a hazard for machine 
operators, especially diesel-powered machine operators since their 
ground speed is typically faster than electric-powered machines. 
However, another commenter stated that MSHA should not require that 
machines slow down before stopping because some machines, such as 
battery-powered direct current traction drives, do not have this 
capability; in some cases, it is more important to stop the machine as 
fast as possible to prevent contact with miners.
    NIOSH commented that field tests of proximity detection systems on 
continuous mining machines and input from stakeholders found that 
detection range, environmental effects/limitations, detection accuracy, 
and system repeatability are considered critical parameters. MSHA 
observed mobile machines operating in mines in the United States with 
properly functioning proximity detection systems of various 
manufacturers with appropriate zone dimensions. These mobile machines 
worked in a range of seam heights, in dry and wet conditions, on 
varying grades, with and without wire mesh, with various mine 
ventilation controls. In MSHA's experience, mine operators work with 
machine manufacturers and proximity detection system manufacturers to 
determine the appropriate warning and shutdown zones for the specific 
mining conditions and practices that the machine encounters. MSHA is 
aware that proximity detection system manufacturers provide site-
specific testing during commissioning of proximity detection systems. 
MSHA also observed proximity detection system testing used to confirm 
appropriate zone dimensions for the equipment and the mining conditions 
at the time of commissioning. MSHA solicits additional comments on 
appropriate warning and stopping zones for each type of machine 
movement and various mining conditions including any differences in 
cost for differing conditions or machines.
    Current NIOSH research is identifying critical parameters that 
impact the performance of proximity detection systems on mobile 
machines, such as stopping distances and deceleration rates. MSHA is 
aware that NIOSH research on proximity detection systems for 
underground mobile equipment is scheduled to conclude in September, 
2018. Several commenters expressed concern that the Agency will require 
proximity detection systems to be installed on coal haulage machines 
and scoops before the findings from NIOSH research on proximity 
detection systems on underground mobile machines are released. MSHA is 
also aware that some mine operators have installed and are operating 
proximity detection systems on mobile machines. MSHA observed 
variations in the installation, maintenance and performance of these 
systems. MSHA anticipates that a final rule would provide minimum 
standards for installation, performance, maintenance, and recordkeeping 
to assure that miners are adequately protected. MSHA observed several 
dynamic tests of mobile machines equipped with proximity detection 
systems in which the machine decelerated to a full stop without injury 
to the on-board operator. MSHA also observed warning and shutdown zone 
incursions on mobile machines equipped with proximity detection systems 
that are being used on working sections during normal mine production 
operations. These proximity detection systems appropriately slowed and/
or stopped these mobile machines without injuring the on-board machine 
operator. MSHA is not aware of any on-board operator injuries resulting 
from a proximity detection system decelerating and/or stopping a mobile 
machine.
    MSHA will continue to work with original equipment manufacturers, 
proximity detection system manufacturers, NIOSH, States, and mine 
operators to consider the benefits and timing of requiring proximity 
detection systems on mobile machines in underground coal mines.
    MSHA solicited and received several comments on how the use of 
proximity detection systems and the overlap of proximity detection 
system protection zones on multiple types of machines operating on the 
same working section might affect miners' work positions. One commenter 
stated that testing, which was conducted in a controlled environment, 
demonstrated that it was impossible to provide full coverage on the 
rear section of the coal hauler without creating a shutdown zone in the 
locations where the continuous mining machine operator was required to 
stand. A modification to the system allowed the shutdown zone to shrink 
as the coal hauler backed into the loading position. Due to the shape 
of the zone, however, the modification removed protective coverage of 
the rear corners of the coal hauler.
    MSHA observed continuous mining machines and mobile machines 
equipped with proximity detection systems successfully interact during 
production on working sections where all of the miners had miner-
wearable components. MSHA solicits additional information regarding how 
coal hauling machines using proximity detection systems work with 
continuous mining machines equipped with proximity

[[Page 2288]]

detection systems while allowing continuous mining machine operators to 
remain in a safe location. MSHA is interested in additional information 
describing the installation and programming of proximity detection 
systems and examples of related work practices established to assure 
that the continuous mining machine operator remains outside of the coal 
hauling machine warning and shutdown zones.
    Another commenter observed, during tests of proximity detection 
systems on continuous mining machines and battery haulers, instances in 
which miners (primarily continuous mining machine operators) could not 
properly perform necessary tasks without getting closer to the 
continuous mining machine than the proximity detection system allowed. 
The commenter noted that without the capability to temporarily bypass 
proximity detection, these personnel would either be forced to operate 
equipment without a clear line of sight or they would need to stand in 
conditions that pose different hazards, such as roof or rib hazards, or 
in locations that are not permitted under other regulations. The 
commenter recommended that the proximity detection system regulation 
for mobile equipment allow for personnel to temporarily bypass 
proximity detection when such conditions are encountered.
    MSHA may consider such a feature and seeks comment on the 
availability, use, and appropriateness of a temporary bypass feature. 
MSHA solicits information regarding how this feature could work with 
existing proximity detection systems and specific benefits or hazards 
that could result.
    One commenter noted that coal haulers and scoops would encounter 
sensors (miner-wearable components) much more frequently during 
operation than would continuous mining machines. Thus, there is an 
increased potential for nuisance tripping caused by inadvertent 
exposure into the detection zones of coal haulers, scoops, and other 
equipment. The commenter further noted the operation of equipment 
during the mining process requires multiple machines to operate, often 
in close proximity and can result in cross zone interference and 
nuisance tripping. As an example, the commenter noted a mine had to 
install additional equipment to help alleviate the cross zone 
interference issue. MSHA is aware that proximity detection system 
manufacturers must consider the interaction of machines with on-board 
operators to prevent unnecessary shut downs. MSHA observed a loading 
machine on which proximity detection equipment was installed to provide 
a silent zone for the on-board loading machine operator. This silent 
zone allowed the shuttle car to approach the loading machine without 
the loading machine operator causing the shuttle car to stop. MSHA is 
also aware that proximity detection system manufacturers have addressed 
this situation through programming miner-wearable components with 
specific permissions.
    In addition, MSHA received a comment from a machine manufacturer 
stating that its field testing experience with coal customers within 
the United States demonstrates measurable section production tonnage 
drops, within five to ten percent of normal production levels, when 
proximity detection is active on haulage equipment.
    MSHA is aware of mine operators that installed proximity detection 
systems on all mobile machines on the working section and experienced 
production decreases. Two of these mine operators reported that 
production later returned to pre-installation levels. MSHA observed 
that miners with experience working with mobile machines equipped with 
proximity detection systems are aware of the warning and shutdown zone 
locations and position themselves to minimize machine shutdowns. MSHA 
did observe a proximity detection system provide both a warning and 
then shut down the machine while the miner-wearable component was 
physically located outside the established warning and shutdown zones. 
This mine operator reported working with the proximity detection system 
manufacturer to resolve this type of occurrence. MSHA is aware of 
proximity detection system manufacturers that have mitigated nuisance 
alarms and other issues through engineering solutions. MSHA is also 
aware that proximity detection system manufacturers continue to improve 
their technology and develop solutions to minimize unwarranted warnings 
and shutdowns.
    MSHA solicits definitive data, including cost and time estimates, 
on delays in production caused by proximity detection system alarms due 
to cross zone interference and nuisance tripping as well as data on the 
length of time to return to pre-installation production levels. MSHA 
also seeks information on how to reduce or eliminate production delays 
when working with mobile machines equipped with proximity detection 
systems.
    MSHA solicits comments on how miners can place themselves in a safe 
work position to avoid causing nuisance alarms when one or more 
machines with proximity detection systems are on the working section. 
MSHA also solicits comments on miners' and mine operators' experiences 
when more than one miner may be in close proximity to one or more 
machines with proximity detection systems.
    MSHA solicited and received several comments on proposed training 
for miners who operate or work near machines equipped with proximity 
detection systems. NIOSH commented that gaining an in-depth view of 
miners' perspectives and how their job tasks and environment could be 
or are affected and then incorporating that information into training 
may help to prevent accidents and injuries that have been labeled as 
human error in the workplace. NIOSH further commented that studies of 
continuous mining machine operators have found that unintended 
consequences, such as a disruption in situational awareness, risks, 
hazards, and decision-making capabilities, can be avoided if human 
factors considerations are integrated into each stage of the technology 
design and implementation process. In addition, NIOSH stated that each 
piece of equipment needs to have a uniquely prescribed proximity system 
and the methods and amounts of training for each system should be 
designed specifically for each system and common platforms established 
where possible.
    One commenter stated that it has been evaluating and testing 
proximity detection system technologies since 2011. The commenter 
further stated that inadequate situational awareness is one of the 
primary factors in incidents attributed to human error and that the 
primary purpose of any proximity detection system/collision avoidance 
technology is to enhance situational awareness.
    Another commenter stated that proximity detection system technology 
has the potential to dangerously change how miners interact with mobile 
equipment in underground mines. The commenter further stated that it 
has witnessed multiple instances where miners have taken higher risks 
because of a false sense of security and that implementation of 
proximity detection systems on all mobile machines will lead miners to 
unsafely rely on the devices and act contrary to their intuition and 
training. In addition, the commenter stated that the first priority [of 
the final rule] should be a safe working position for a miner or 
machine operator, and second a noncontact rule.
    MSHA has observed miners relocate themselves to safer locations 
because of proximity detection system visible and

[[Page 2289]]

audible warnings. These warnings increased the miner's situational 
awareness regarding their location with respect to hazardous areas 
around the mobile machines.
    MSHA is interested in receiving additional information on miners' 
and mine operators' experiences with the effect that proximity 
detection systems have on miners' and machine operators' situational 
awareness and any examples where reliance on proximity detection 
technology may cause the miner to develop work practices that introduce 
additional hazards.
    MSHA observed representatives of mine operators and proximity 
detection system manufacturers provide instruction and task training to 
miners on the working section where proximity detection systems have 
been installed on mobile machines. Miners have demonstrated their 
knowledge of the installation, maintenance, and use of proximity 
detection systems to MSHA personnel. For example, MSHA observed one 
mine operator instruct miners to move into a crosscut adjacent to a 
coal haulage travelway. This increased their distance from the coal 
haulage travelway, averted unwanted proximity zone incursions, and 
ultimately placed the workers in a safer location. MSHA also observed a 
South African mine operator utilize data reports from the proximity 
detection systems to reinforce safe work practices specified in company 
policy. These data reports logged the instances when miner-wearable 
components entered the established warning and shutdown zones.
    MSHA is also interested in miners', mine operators' and proximity 
detection system manufacturers' experiences with training that could be 
done to increase miners' and machine operators' situational awareness 
around machines with proximity detection systems.

2. Electromagnetic Interference

    Electrical systems used in the mine, including proximity detection 
systems, can adversely affect the function of other electrical systems 
through the generation of electromagnetic interference. Several 
commenters noted that electromagnetic interference generated from a 
variety of external sources can adversely affect the performance of 
proximity detection systems. Several commenters stated that 
electromagnetic interference prevents proximity detection systems from 
functioning as designed. Another commenter stated that, because of 
electromagnetic interference, the proximity detection system failed to 
locate the miner-wearable component with any level of accuracy or 
consistency. The commenter further stated that, as a result, it was 
nearly impossible for the coal hauler to work in close proximity to the 
continuous miner or operator.
    In addition, on April 6, 2016, MSHA was made aware of concerns from 
mine operators regarding electromagnetic interferences with proximity 
detection systems from respirable coal mine dust sampling devices. On 
April 15 and May 2, 2016, MSHA notified underground coal mine operators 
who have a proximity detection system installed on any equipment that 
they should identify sources of any electromagnetic interference that 
adversely affect the performance of the proximity detection system. The 
above-referenced notices are included in the rulemaking record.
    Proposed Sec.  75.1733(b)(5) would require a mine operator to 
install a proximity detection system to prevent interference that 
adversely affects performance of any electrical system. MSHA clarifies 
that proposed Sec.  75.1733(b)(5) would require mine operators to 
prevent electromagnetic interference from affecting the operation of 
the proximity detection system or any other electrical system. MSHA 
intends that the system would be installed, maintained and operated in 
such a way that no electrical systems would be adversely affected due 
to interference. This would require periodic post-installation 
evaluation of all new potential sources of electromagnetic 
interference.
    To clarify this intent, MSHA is considering a revision to proposed 
Sec.  75.1733(b)(5) that would require proximity detection systems to 
be both installed and operated in a manner that prevents interferences 
that adversely affect the performance of any electrical system, 
including the proximity detection system. The operation of other 
electrical systems and equipment must not interfere with the 
performance of the proximity detection system, and the proximity 
detection system must not interfere with the performance of other 
electrical systems.
    MSHA has found that one type of common interference can be 
identified when electrical devices are placed within several inches of 
the miner-wearable component of the proximity detection system. 
Electromagnetic interference between these two systems can be mitigated 
by maintaining a minimum distance between a miner-wearable component 
and electrical devices. MSHA's technical staff estimated that each mine 
would require an average of 20 hours for a mining engineer to identify 
sources of electromagnetic interference and the minimum distance needed 
to mitigate the interference. Mining engineers will test the 
compatibility between electrical devices and proximity detection system 
components. Tests will be based on equipment use and mining conditions. 
MSHA anticipates that mining engineers will conduct physical tests for 
compatibility, review equipment user manuals, and consult with the 
original equipment manufacturers and the proximity detection system 
manufacturer.
    Based on MSHA's mine visits, the Agency estimated that mine 
operators are likely, on average, to introduce new electrical equipment 
twice per year. This would require a mining engineer two hours to 
identify and mitigate adverse interference from the new electrical 
equipment.
    Holding all other variables of the preliminary regulatory economic 
analysis constant, MSHA estimated that, on average, it would cost each 
mine operator $3,500 over ten years to comply with proposed Sec.  
75.1733(b)(5). MSHA seeks comments on the cost drivers for 
compatibility testing and the Agency's cost estimate for proposed Sec.  
75.1733(b)(5).
    MSHA is aware of best practices that mine operators and proximity 
detection system manufacturers have established to minimize the effects 
of electromagnetic interference. MSHA is aware that proximity detection 
system manufacturers have stated that minimum separation distances need 
to be maintained between miner-wearable components and other electrical 
equipment. During mine visits, miners have demonstrated the ability to 
maintain sufficient separation between miner-wearable components and 
other equipment to ensure proper proximity detection system function. 
MSHA is also aware of mine operators that have added inline filters on 
variable frequency drive shuttle cars to reduce electromagnetic 
emission interference. MSHA is aware of an electrical equipment 
manufacturer that added material designed to provide electromagnetic 
shielding to its gas detection equipment which reportedly reduced 
interference with proximity detection systems.
    MSHA solicits comments on the methods and practices mine operators 
have used or could use to identify sources of electromagnetic 
interference. MSHA is also interested in receiving information on the 
actions an operator has taken or could take to prevent such 
interference and how electromagnetic interference can be mitigated in 
instances where a miner needs to wear

[[Page 2290]]

multiple miner-wearable components because different proximity 
detection system models are operating on a working section. Please also 
describe procedures that were successful and those that were not 
successful in identifying interferences, as well as solutions to 
prevent adverse interference.
    MSHA has observed that wire mesh and metallic equipment can affect 
the proximity detection systems' warning and stopping zones. MSHA has 
also received reports of some pyrite deposits within coal seams 
affecting the use of the proximity detection system, but has not 
observed this effect first-hand. MSHA solicits information and data 
from mine operators and proximity detection system manufacturers on 
best practices to minimize the effects of these non-electrical 
interferences.
    Since the record closed, MSHA became aware of a proximity detection 
system design feature on a miner-wearable component that determines if 
the magnetic field sensing coils have been affected by electromagnetic 
interference and can no longer detect the magnetic field generated by 
the machine-mounted components. This feature provides a distinct 
audible and visible alarm on the miner-wearable component to alert 
miners when it is not functioning properly due to electromagnetic 
interference. MSHA is considering requiring this design feature for all 
miner-wearable components.
    MSHA solicits comments on the cost and availability of, and 
experience with, any proximity detection system feature or other 
technology that automatically alerts the miner or machine operator when 
the miner-wearable component or proximity detection system is not 
functioning properly due to electromagnetic interference.

3. Proximity Detection System Checks

    Proposed Sec.  75.1733(c)(1) would require that a mine operator 
designate a person to perform a check of machine-mounted components of 
the proximity detection system to verify that components are intact and 
the system is functioning properly, and to take action to correct 
defects. MSHA clarifies that under proposed paragraph (c)(1), the check 
would include verification that the warning and shutdown zones are set 
for the established proximity detection field distances and to meet the 
performance requirements under proposed Sec.  75.1733(b)(1) and (b)(2). 
Under proposed Sec.  75.1733(c)(1), the person designated to perform 
the check would verify that the machine-mounted components are intact 
and correctly mounted and the system is operating properly to identify 
a miner-wearable component and stop the machine. The check assures that 
the warning and shutdown zones around the perimeter of the machine are 
set according to a mine operator's specifications. In MSHA's 
experience, proximity detection system manufacturers have determined 
the type of checks that should be conducted to assure that their system 
is functioning properly. Mine operators are expected to follow the 
check procedures suggested by the manufacturers. MSHA has observed that 
a check of the warning and shutdown zones can be made by a miner 
walking around the machine with a miner-wearable component to confirm 
proper zone range. MSHA has also observed checking the machine shutdown 
function of the proximity detection system. This check involves placing 
a miner wearable component inside the shutdown zone and then attempting 
to initiate machine movements such as tramming. If the proximity 
detection system prevents machine movement, the system is functioning 
properly.
    The check would also include an examination of the machine-mounted 
components to assure that the field generators, antennas, cabling, and 
other components are undamaged and correctly mounted. The check would 
also assure that appropriate audible and visual warning signals are 
working as required. MSHA solicits comments on how the warning and 
shutdown zones can be checked, or tested, without putting machine 
operators at risk.
    With the clarification in this notice, MSHA estimates that the 
average time required for a check, which includes a verification that 
the warning and shutdown zones are set to meet the performance 
requirements under proposed Sec.  75.1733(b)(1) and (b)(2), would 
increase from 20 seconds to 6 minutes. MSHA's revised estimate of 6 
minutes reflects the time needed to: (1) Verify that the machine-
mounted components are intact and correctly mounted and the system is 
operating properly to identify a miner-wearable component and stop the 
machine, and (2) test and validate that the warning and stopping zones 
meet performance requirements. MSHA substituted the 6 minutes into the 
calculations of the proposed rule, held all other variables constant, 
and calculated that the average 10-year cost per mine increase would be 
$182,000. Many other assumptions and data values will be updated in a 
final regulatory analysis. MSHA seeks comments on the Agency's 
revisions to its proposed time estimate to comply with Sec.  
75.1733(c)(1).

4. South Africa Field-Trip Report and NIOSH Partnership Meeting

    The rulemaking record includes MSHA's Field-Trip Report on 
Proximity Detection Use in South Africa. On April 2 through April 13, 
2016, MSHA and NIOSH representatives visited South Africa to 
investigate the progress of proximity detection system technology in 
South Africa. The group visited two proximity detection system 
manufacturing facilities and observed proximity detection system 
performance in three underground coal mines. In addition, the group met 
with a proximity detection system technology developer with experience 
in proximity detection system development in South Africa and other 
countries. Among other topics, they discussed the developer's 
experiences with proximity detection system interference in South 
Africa.
    MSHA and NIOSH also met with representatives of South Africa's 
Department of Mineral Resources on the implementation of proximity 
detection systems on electric-powered, trackless mobile machinery in 
South Africa's surface and underground mines. MSHA's report and 
presentation materials from the South Africa trip are included in the 
rulemaking record and available for comment.
    MSHA has also included in the rulemaking record materials from the 
NIOSH Proximity Detection Partnership Meeting. On June 22, 2016, NIOSH 
held a partnership meeting that included representatives from MSHA, 
industry, labor, and proximity detection system manufacturers. 
Materials presented during the partnership meeting are included in the 
rulemaking record and available for comment.

III. Compliance Cost Revision

    MSHA initially estimated that the proposed rule would cost mine 
operators, over ten years, approximately $536,000 per mine. MSHA has 
revised estimates for two provisions to reflect the Agency's 
clarification on the proposed requirements. Table 1 summarizes the 
changes to estimated cost for these two provisions.

[[Page 2291]]



              Table 1--Average 10-Year Total Cost per Mine
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Average 10-
                                           year per mine
                                               cost
---------------------------------------------------------
Total 10-Year Cost as Proposed on 09/02/        $536,000
 2015...................................
Changes:
    Proximity Detection System Checks...         182,000
    Electromagnetic Interference                   3,500
     Evaluation.........................
                                         -------------------------------
        Total Change....................         185,500
                                         -------------------------------
Total Revised Cost......................  ..............        $721,500
Percent increase in average cost per      ..............             35%
 mine...................................
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The rulemaking record and comment period for the proposed rule is 
reopened until February 8, 2017. MSHA solicits comments on all aspects 
of the proposed rule. The Agency requests that comments be specific as 
possible and include any technological and economic feasibility data.

Joseph A. Main,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2017-00105 Filed 1-6-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4520-43-P