Telephone service or equivalent two-way communication facilities, approved by the Secretary or his authorized representative, shall be provided between the surface and each landing of main shafts and slopes and between the surface and each working section of any coal mine that is more than one hundred feet from a portal.
Not later than 60 days after June 15, 2006, each underground coal mine operator shall develop and adopt a written accident response plan that complies with this subsection with respect to each mine of the operator, and periodically update such plans to reflect changes in operations in the mine, advances in technology, or other relevant considerations. Each such operator shall make the accident response plan available to the miners and the miners’ representatives.
The accident response plan under subparagraph (A) shall be reviewed periodically, but at least every 6 months, by the Secretary. In such periodic reviews, the Secretary shall consider all comments submitted by miners or miners’ representatives and intervening advancements in science and technology that could be implemented to enhance miners’ ability to evacuate or otherwise survive in an emergency.
The plan shall provide for a redundant means of communication with the surface for persons underground, such as secondary telephone or equivalent two-way communication.
Consistent with commercially available technology and with the physical constraints, if any, of the mine, the plan shall provide for above ground personnel to determine the current, or immediately pre-accident, location of all underground personnel. Any system so utilized shall be functional, reliable, and calculated to remain serviceable in a post-accident setting.
The plan shall provide for the use of flame-resistant directional lifelines or equivalent systems in escapeways to enable evacuation. The flame-resistance requirement of this clause shall apply upon the replacement of existing lifelines, or, in the case of lifelines in working sections, upon the earlier of the replacement of such lifelines or 3 years after June 15, 2006.
The plan shall provide a training program for emergency procedures described in the plan which will not diminish the requirements for mandatory health and safety training currently required under section 825 of this title.
The plan shall set out procedures for coordination and communication between the operator, mine rescue teams, and local emergency response personnel and make provisions for familiarizing local rescue personnel with surface functions that may be required in the course of mine rescue work.
In addition to the content requirements contained in subparagraph (E), and subject to the considerations contained in subparagraph (C), the Secretary may make additional plan requirements with respect to any of the content matters.
Not later than 3 years after June 15, 2006, a plan shall, to be approved, provide for post accident communication between underground and surface personnel via a wireless two-way medium, and provide for an electronic tracking system permitting surface personnel to determine the location of any persons trapped underground or set forth within the plan the reasons such provisions can not be adopted. Where such plan sets forth the reasons such provisions can not be adopted, the plan shall also set forth the operator’s alternative means of compliance. Such alternative shall approximate, as closely as possible, the degree of functional utility and safety protection provided by the wireless two-way medium and tracking system referred to in this subpart.
In the event of a dispute or refusal described in clause (i), the Secretary shall issue a citation which shall be immediately referred to a Commission Administrative Law Judge. The Secretary and the operator shall submit all relevant material regarding the dispute to the Administrative Law Judge within 15 days of the date of the referral. The Administrative Law Judge shall render his or her decision with respect to the plan content dispute within 15 days of the receipt of the submission.
A party adversely affected by a decision under clause (ii) may pursue all further available appeal rights with respect to the citation involved, except that inclusion of the disputed provision in the plan will not be limited by such appeal unless such relief is requested by the operator and permitted by the Administrative Law Judge.