United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Mar 24, 2023
High-voltage circuits entering the underground area of any coal mine shall be protected by suitable circuit breakers of adequate interrupting capacity which are properly tested and maintained as prescribed by the Secretary. Such breakers shall be equipped with devices to provide protection against under-voltage, grounded phase, short circuit, and overcurrent.
High-voltage circuits extending underground and supplying portable, mobile, or stationary high-voltage equipment shall contain either a direct or derived neutral which shall be grounded through a suitable resistor at the source transformers, and a grounding circuit, originating at the grounded side of the grounding resistor, shall extend along with the power conductors and serve as a grounding conductor for the frames of all high-voltage equipment supplied power from that circuit, except that the Secretary or his authorized representative may permit ungrounded high-voltage circuits to be extended underground to feed stationary electrical equipment if such circuits are either steel armored or installed in grounded, rigid steel conduit throughout their entire length, and upon his finding that such exception does not pose a hazard to the miners. Within one hundred feet of the point on the surface where high-voltage circuits enter the underground portion of the mine, disconnecting devices shall be installed and so equipped or designed in such a manner that it can be determined by visual observation that the power is disconnected, except that the Secretary or his authorized representative may permit such devices to be installed at a greater distance from such area of the mine if he determines, based on existing physical conditions, that such installation will be more accessible at a greater distance and will not pose any hazard to the miners.
The grounding resistor, where required, shall be of the proper ohmic value to limit the voltage drop in the grounding circuit external to the resistor to not more than 100 volts under fault conditions. The grounding resistor shall be rated for maximum fault current continuously and insulated from ground for a voltage equal to the phase-to-phase voltage of the system.
Six months after the operative date of this subchapter, high-voltage, resistance grounded systems shall include a fail safe ground check circuit to monitor continuously the grounding circuit to assure continuity and the fail safe ground check circuit shall cause the circuit breaker to open when either the ground or pilot check wire is broken, or other no less effective device approved by the Secretary or his authorized representative to assure such continuity, except that an extension of time, not in excess of twelve months, may be permitted by the Secretary on a mine-by-mine basis if he determines that such equipment is not available.
Couplers that are used with medium-voltage or high-voltage power circuits shall be of the three-phase type with a full metallic shell, except that the Secretary may permit, under such guidelines as he may prescribe, no less effective couplers constructed of materials other than metal. Couplers shall be adequate for the voltage and current expected. All exposed metal on the metallic couplers shall be grounded to the ground conductor in the cable. The coupler shall be constructed so that the ground check continuity conductor shall be broken first and the ground conductors shall be broken last when the coupler is being uncoupled.
Single-phase loads, such as transformer primaries, shall be connected phase to phase.
All underground high-voltage transmission cables shall be installed only in regularly inspected air courses and haulageways, and shall be covered, buried, or placed so as to afford protection against damage, guarded where men regularly work or pass under them unless they are six and one-half feet or more above the floor or rail, securely anchored, properly insulated, and guarded at ends, and covered, insulated, or placed to prevent contact with trolley wires and other low-voltage circuits.
Disconnecting devices shall be installed at the beginning of branch lines in high-voltage circuits and equipped or designed in such a manner that it can be determined by visual observation that the circuit is deenergized when the switches are open.
Circuit breakers and disconnecting switches underground shall be marked for identification.
In the case of high-voltage cables used as trailing cables, temporary splices shall not be used and all permanent splices shall be made in accordance with section 866(e) of this title. Terminations and splices in all other high-voltage cables shall be made in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.
Frames, supporting structures, and enclosures of stationary, portable, or mobile underground high-voltage equipment and all high-voltage equipment supplying power to such equipment receiving power from resistance grounded systems shall be effectively grounded to the high-voltage ground.
Power centers and portable transformers shall be deenergized before they are moved from one location to another, except that, when equipment powered by sources other than such centers or transformers is not available, the Secretary may permit such centers and transformers to be moved while energized, if he determines that another equivalent or greater hazard may otherwise be created, and if they are moved under the supervision of a qualified person, and if such centers and transformers are examined prior to such movement by such person and found to be grounded by methods approved by an authorized representative of the Secretary and otherwise protected from hazards to the miner. A record shall be kept of such examinations. High-voltage cables, other than trailing cables, shall not be moved or handled at any time while energized, except that, when such centers and transformers are moved while energized as permitted under this subsection, energized high-voltage cables attached to such centers and transformers may be moved only by a qualified person and the operator of such mine shall require that such person wear approved and tested insulated wireman’s gloves.