H.R.5432 - Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006109th Congress (2005-2006)
Summary: H.R.5432 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)
Introduced in House (05/19/2006)
Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 or the MINER Act - Amends the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 to require coal mine operators to: (1) carry out continuously a program to improve accident preparedness and response at each mine; and (2) adopt and update an accident response plan for evacuations and for maintenance of individuals trapped underground. Requires such a plan to provide for: (1) redundant means and local coordination of communication; (2) post-accident location of underground personnel; (3) emergency air supplies: (4) self-rescuer caches, maintenance, and replacement; (5) escapeways and flame-resistant directional lifelines; (6) emergency training; and (7) within three years, post accident wireless communication between underground and the surface and electronic tracking of trapped persons.
Limits the liability of persons who carry out mine accident rescue or recovery operations.
Directs the Secretary of Labor to require: (1) the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to establish and update criteria to certify the qualifications of mine rescue teams; and (2) mine operators to have one employee knowledgeable in emergency response on each shift and two certified mine rescue teams available at each mine within one hour.
Requires notification of a mine accident to be provided to the Secretary by the operator within 15 minutes of knowledge of a death or potentially fatal injury.
Amends the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to establish within the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) an Office of Mine Safety and Health to enhance the development of new mine safety technology and applications and to expedite the commercial availability and implementation of such technology. Authorizes the Director of NIOSH to: (1) award competitive grants and contracts; and (2) establish an interagency working group to share technology, research, and developments concerning mine safety and accident response.
Requires the Secretary to require: (1) the temporary assignment of a department official as a liaison with the families of victims of mine tragedies involving multiple deaths; and (2) MSHA to be as responsive as possible to family requests for information and to serve as the primary communicator.
Prescribes penalties for operator violations of health or safety standards or orders.
Requires the Secretary to finalize mandatory health and safety standards relating to the sealing of abandoned areas in coal mines, which shall increase the current 20 psi standard.
Establishes a Technical Study Panel to provide independent scientific review and recommendations regarding the use of belt air and the composition and fire retardent properties of belt materials in mines.
Requires the Secretary of Education to establish a program to provide scholarships to individuals to increase the skilled workforce for mine operators, mine safety inspectors, and other MSHA personnel.
Requires NIOSH to provide for research about various refuge alternatives in coal mines.
Requires the Secretary of Labor to award competitive grants for funding education and training programs to better identify and prevent unsafe working conditions in and around mines.