West Virginia Orders Emergency Mine Inspections

October 17, 2011

West Virginia mine safety officials have ordered emergency inspections of up to 500 rescue shelters in the state’s underground coal mines.

The Charleston Gazette reported the Office of Miners Health, Safety and Training issued the order Friday.

West Virginia mines are required to contain rescue shelters that could help miners survive the toxic environment inside a mine after an underground explosion.

The agency cited concerns that cracked valves and fittings might make the units inoperable.

The order requires inspections by shelter manufacturers of all inflatable, tent design mine rescue chambers by Oct. 31.

The order also requires mine operators to replace all brass valves and fittings associated with the units’ compressed-oxygen cylinders within the next two years.

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