The deadline by which underground coal mine operators must equip continuous mining machines with proximity detection systems is fast approaching.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has issued an alert to remind the mining industry that the deadline for installing the life-saving technology is March 16, 2018.

The requirement is in a final rule (30 CFR §75.1732) published by the MSHA on January 15, 2015. Full face continuous mining machines are not included in the rule’s requirements.

Proximity detection systems prevent crushing or pinning accidents by stopping the motion of a continuous mining machine and/or sending a warning signal when a person or object is detected in its path. Many mine operators already have installed proximity detection systems in accordance with the regulation.

The MSHA is directing those with questions about the final rule or the deadline to contact the District Manager in the district where the mine is located.