Vol. 29 Iss. 25 - August 12, 2013

Chapter 40
Fast-Track Regulation

Title of Regulation: 4VAC25-40. Safety and Health Regulations for Mineral Mining (repealing 4VAC25-40-900, 4VAC25-40-950, 4VAC25-40-970, 4VAC25-40-1040, 4VAC25-40-1180, 4VAC25-40-1980, 4VAC25-40-2420, 4VAC25-40-2430, 4VAC25-40-3800, 4VAC25-40-4030, 4VAC25-40-4050).

Statutory Authority: §§ 45.1-161.3, 45.1-161.294, and 45.1-161.305 of the Code of Virginia.

Public Hearing Information: No public hearings are scheduled.

Public Comment Deadline: September 11, 2013.

Effective Date: September 26, 2013.

Agency Contact: Michael Skiffington, Regulatory Coordinator, Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, 1100 Bank Street, 8th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219-3402, telephone (804) 692-3212, FAX (804) 692-3237, TTY (800) 828-1120, or email

Basis: The Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) is authorized to promulgate regulations necessary to the performance of its duties under § 45.1-161.292:19 of the Code of Virginia. Section 45.1-161.294 of the Code of Virginia requires the Director of DMME to promulgate regulations necessary to ensure the health and safety of mineral miners in underground mineral mines. Section 45.1-161.305 contains a similar requirement for mineral miners working on surface mineral mines.

Purpose: The purpose of this action is to repeal unnecessary or duplicative regulations. There are no substantive changes to the regulations.

Rationale for Using Fast-Track Process: This action is expected to be noncontroversial because unnecessary or duplicative regulations are being repealed.

Substance: Eleven sections of 4VAC25-40 are being repealed because they are duplicative or unnecessary. No substantive changes are being made.

Issues: The primary advantage is simplifying the administrative code by eliminating unnecessary or duplicative regulations. There are no disadvantages.

Department of Planning and Budget's Economic Impact Analysis:

Summary of the Proposed Amendments to Regulation. The Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) proposes to repeal several sections of these regulations.

Result of Analysis. The benefits likely exceed the costs for all proposed changes.

Estimated Economic Impact. Most of the language proposed for repeal is redundant with language in other regulations. The repeal of this language should have no impact.

The current regulations state that The total pounds of explosives and blasting agents in any blast shall not exceed 40,000 pounds without the approval of the director. DMME also proposes to repeal this sentence. The agency points out that since all blasts are monitored by seismograph and must meet established ground vibration and air-blast limits, current blasting technology does not warrant this restriction. Eliminating this requirement would be beneficial in that it will save time for both the miners (staff time spent asking for approval) and DMME (staff time spent granting approval).

Businesses and Entities Affected. There are 433 mineral operations currently in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Approximately 90% of these (roughly 390) would qualify as small businesses.1

Localities Particularly Affected. The proposed regulations will affect all localities in the Commonwealth that have mineral mines. According to DMME, 91% of Virginia's counties have mineral mines governed by these regulations.

Projected Impact on Employment. The proposed amendments will not significantly affect employment.

Effects on the Use and Value of Private Property. The proposed repeal of the requirement that approval be received from DMMEs director prior to blasts exceeding 40,000 total pounds of explosives and blasting agents will save a small amount of time for mining staff.

Small Businesses: Costs and Other Effects. The proposed amendments will not significantly affect costs for small businesses beyond a small savings in staff time as described above.

Small Businesses: Alternative Method that Minimizes Adverse Impact. The proposed amendments do not adversely affect small businesses.

Real Estate Development Costs. The proposed amendments are unlikely to significantly affect real estate development costs.

Legal Mandate. The Department of Planning and Budget (DPB) has analyzed the economic impact of this proposed regulation in accordance with § 2.2-4007.04 of the Administrative Process Act and Executive Order Number 14 (10). Section 2.2-4007.04 requires that such economic impact analyses include, but need not be limited to, a determination of the public benefit, the projected number of businesses or other entities to whom the regulation would apply, the identity of any localities and types of businesses or other entities particularly affected, the projected number of persons and employment positions to be affected, the projected costs to affected businesses or entities to implement or comply with the regulation, and the impact on the use and value of private property. Further, if the proposed regulation has an adverse effect on small businesses, § 2.2-4007.04 requires that such economic impact analyses include (i) an identification and estimate of the number of small businesses subject to the regulation; (ii) the projected reporting, recordkeeping, and other administrative costs required for small businesses to comply with the regulation, including the type of professional skills necessary for preparing required reports and other documents; (iii) a statement of the probable effect of the regulation on affected small businesses; and (iv) a description of any less intrusive or less costly alternative methods of achieving the purpose of the regulation. The analysis presented above represents DPB's best estimate of these economic impacts.


1 Data source: Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy

Agency's Response to Economic Impact Analysis: The Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy concurs with the economic impact analysis conducted by the Department of Planning and Budget.


As part of the Governor's Regulatory Reform Initiative, the amendments repeal sections of 4VAC25-40, Safety and Health Regulations for Mineral Mining, that are unnecessary or duplicative. No substantive changes are made to the regulations.

4VAC25-40-900. Total weight of explosives. (Repealed.)

The total pounds of explosives and blasting agents in any blast shall not exceed 40,000 pounds without the approval of the director.

Part VII
Drilling—Surface and Underground

4VAC25-40-950. Inspection of equipment prior to use. (Repealed.)

Drillers shall inspect their equipment prior to use. Equipment defects affecting safety shall be reported to the certified foreman.

4VAC25-40-970. Safe operation of drills. (Repealed.)

Drillers shall inspect their work area for hazards prior to drilling; drills shall be operated from a safe position. Any hazards found shall be eliminated before beginning drilling operations.

4VAC25-40-1040. Clothing. (Repealed.)

Drillers and helpers shall not wear loose- fitting clothes which may become caught in moving parts of the drill.

4VAC25-40-1180. Safety devices. (Repealed.)

Safety devices on compressed-air systems shall be checked daily by the operator or his agent.

4VAC25-40-1980. Correction of safety hazards. (Repealed.)

All safety hazards shall be corrected before work is performed in any area.

4VAC25-40-2420. Safety in electrical storms. (Repealed.)

Persons shall not stand on the ground in the vicinity of an electrically-powered shovel or other similar heavy equipment during an electrical storm.

4VAC25-40-2430. Carrying tools and supplies. (Repealed.)

Tools and supplies shall be carried in the hands and not on the shoulders when persons travel near bare power conductors.

4VAC25-40-3800. Fixed ladders. (Repealed.)

Fixed ladders shall meet the requirements of 4VAC25-40-1990 and 4VAC25-40-2000.

4VAC25-40-4030. Employees working alone. (Repealed.)

No employee shall be assigned, allowed, or required to perform work alone in any area where hazardous conditions exist that would endanger his safety unless the person can be heard or seen.

4VAC25-40-4050. Record of persons in mine. (Repealed.)

An accurate record of the persons going in and out of the mine shall be kept on the surface.

VA.R. Doc. No. R13-3522; Filed July 12, 2013, 9:58 a.m.