§22A-2-25. Roof control programs and plans; refusal to work under unsupported roof.
(a) Each operator shall undertake to carry out on a continuing basis a program to improve the roof control system of each coal mine and the means and measures to accomplish such system. The roof and ribs of all active underground roadways, travelways, and working places shall be supported or otherwise controlled adequately to protect persons from falls of the roof or ribs. A roof control plan and revisions thereof suitable to the roof conditions and mining systems of each coal mine and approved by the director shall be adopted and set out in printed form before new operations. The safety committee of the miners of each mine where such committee exists shall be afforded the opportunity to review and submit comments and recommendations to the director and operator concerning the development, modification, or revision of such roof control plans. The plan shall show the type of support and spacing approved by the director. Such plan shall be reviewed periodically, at least every six months by the director, taking into consideration any falls of roof or rib or inadequacy of support of roof or ribs. A copy of the plan shall be furnished to the director or his or her authorized representative and shall be available to the miners and their representatives. The MSHA-approved roof control plan shall serve as the state-approved plan: Provided, That the MSHA-approved plan shall comply with all provisions of state mining law as set forth in this code or code of state rules.
(b) The operator, in accordance with the approved plan, shall provide at or near each working face and at such other locations in the coal mine, as the director may prescribe, an ample supply of suitable materials of proper size with which to secure the roof thereof of all working places in a safe manner. Safety posts, jacks, or other approved devices shall be used to protect the workmen when roof material is being taken down, crossbars are being installed, roof bolt holes are being drilled, roof bolts are being installed, and in such other circumstances as may be appropriate. Loose roof and overhanging or loose faces and ribs shall be taken down or supported. When overhangs or brows occur along rib lines they shall be promptly removed. All sections shall be maintained as near as possible on center. Except in the case of recovery work, supports knocked out shall be replaced promptly. Apprentice miners shall not be permitted to set temporary supports on a working section without the direct immediate supervision of a certified miner.
(c) The operator of a mine has primary responsibility to prevent injuries and deaths resulting from working under unsupported roof. Every operator shall require that no person may proceed beyond the last permanent support unless adequate temporary support is provided or temporary support is not required under an approved roof control plan and absence of such support will not pose a hazard to the miners.
(d) The immediate supervisor of any area in which unsupported roof is located shall not direct or knowingly permit any person to proceed beyond the last permanent support unless adequate temporary support is provided or temporary support is not required under an approved roof control plan and absence of such support will not pose a hazard to the miners.
(e) No miner shall proceed beyond the last permanent support in violation of a direct or standing order of an operator, a foreman or an assistant foreman, unless adequate temporary support is provided or temporary support is not required under an approved roof control plan and absence of such support will not pose a hazard to the miner.
(f) The immediate supervisor of each miner who will be engaged in any activity involving the securing of roof or rib during a shift shall, at the onset of any such shift, orally review those parts of the roof control plan relevant to the type of mining and roof control to be pursued by such miner.
(g) Any action taken against a miner due, in whole or in part, to his or her refusal to work under unsupported roof, where such work would constitute a violation of this section, is prohibited as an act of discrimination pursuant to §22A-1-22 of this code. Upon a finding of discrimination by the appeals board pursuant to §22A-1-22(b) of this code, the miner shall be awarded by the appeals board all reliefs available pursuant to §22A-1-22(b) and §22A-1-22(c) of this code.