Hearings set this month on proposed rule to equip mobile mine machines with sensors

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CHARLESTON, West Virginia — Public hearings are set this month on a proposed federal rule to require coal mine operators to equip coal hauling machines and scoops with sensors intended to curb fatalities and injuries in underground mines.

The sensors automatically shut down equipment when people get too close.

Public hearings on the proposed rule will be held Oct. 6 in Denver, Oct. 8 in Birmingham, Alabama, Oct. 19 in Beaver, West Virginia, and Oct. 29 in Indianapolis. Coal hauling machines include shuttle and ram cars and continuous haulage systems.

Federal mine regulators say sensors could have prevented 42 fatalities on mobile machines from 1984 through 2014.

A federal rule effective earlier this year requires underground operators to have sensors on continuous mining machines. It is being phased in over the next three years.

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