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DOL/MSHA RIN: 1219-AB79 Publication ID: Spring 2017 
Title: Refuge Alternatives for Underground Coal Mines 

On December 31, 2008, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued a final rule establishing requirements for Refuge Alternatives (RA) for underground coal mines. In 2013, MSHA published a Federal Register Notice requesting data, comments, and information, based on industry experience, on issues relevant to miners’ escape and refuge during an emergency. During the public comment period and its extensions, MSHA received 17 comments from industry, RA equipment manufacturers, state and international mining agencies, academia, and NIOSH on various issues. NIOSH had also developed the Refuge Alternatives Partnership to provide a forum for presentation and discussion of NIOSH RA research findings to date; provide a forum for industry, manufacturers, academia and others who are working on improving currently employed RAs and/or the design and testing of novel RA concepts to present their findings; provide a forum for discussion of industry experience with currently employed mobile and built-in-place (BIP) RAs; and provide stakeholders with an opportunity to provide input to NIOSH on research gaps. NIOSH recently held the second Partnership meeting in October 2016, at which MSHA also hosted a Refuge Alternatives Forum.

MSHA is withdrawing this RA rulemaking. MSHA continues to work with NIOSH and stakeholders to resolve any RA equipment and technology issues and enhance the effectiveness of escape and refuge through the RA Partnership.

Agency: Department of Labor(DOL)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Completed Actions 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 30 CFR 7    30 CFR 75   
Legal Authority: 30 U.S.C. 957    30 U.S.C. 811   
Legal Deadline:  None
Action Date FR Cite
Request for Information (RFI)  08/08/2013  78 FR 48593   
RFI Comment Period End  10/07/2013 
RFI Extension of Comment Period  09/23/2013  78 FR 58264   
RFI Extension of Comment Period End  12/06/2013 
RFI 2nd Extension of Comment Period  12/06/2013  78 FR 73471   
RFI 2nd Extension of Comment Period End  06/02/2014 
RFI 3rd Extension of Comment Period  06/03/2014  79 FR 31895   
RFI 3rd Extension of Comment Period End  10/02/2014 
RFI 4th Extension of Comment Period  10/01/2014  79 FR 59167   
RFI 4th Extension of Comment Period End  04/02/2015 
RFI Notice of Public Meeting Date 10/19/2015 and Reopening of Record  09/18/2015  80 FR 56416   
RFI Reopening of Record Comment Period End  11/16/2015 
RFI 5th Extension of Comment Period  11/18/2015  80 FR 72028   
RFI 5th Extension of Comment Period End  01/15/2016 
Withdrawn  03/30/2017 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: State 
Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Sheila McConnell
Director, Office of Standards, Regulations, and Variances
Department of Labor
Mine Safety and Health Administration
201 12th Street South, Room 4E401,
Arlington, VA 22202-5452
Phone:202 693-9440
Fax:202 693-9441