1561.26 Training and employment of rescue crews.

(A) As used in this section:

(1) "EMT-basic," "EMT-I," and "paramedic" have the same meanings as in section 4765.01 of the Revised Code.

(2) "Mine medical responder" has the same meaning as in section 1565.15 of the Revised Code.

(B) The superintendent of rescue stations, with the approval of the chief of the division of mineral resources management, shall, at each rescue station provided for in section 1561.25 of the Revised Code, train and employ rescue crews of six members each, one of whom shall hold a mine foreperson or fire boss certificate and be designated captain, and train and employ any number of such rescue crews as the superintendent believes necessary. One member of a rescue crew shall be certified as an EMT-basic, EMT-I, mine medical responder, or paramedic. Each member of a rescue crew shall devote the time specified by the chief each month for training purposes and shall be available at all times to assist in rescue work at explosions, mine fires, and other emergencies.

A captain of mine rescue crews shall receive for service as captain the sum of twenty-four dollars per month, and each member shall receive the sum of twenty dollars per month, all payable on requisition approved by the chief. When engaged in rescue work at explosions, mine fires, or other emergencies away from their station, the members of the rescue crews and captains of the same shall be paid the sum of six dollars per hour for work on the surface, which includes the time consumed by those members in traveling to and from the scene of the emergency when the scene is away from the station of the members, and the sum of seven dollars per hour for all work underground at the emergency, and in addition thereto, the necessary living expenses of the members when the emergency is away from their home station, all payable on requisition approved by the chief.

Each member of a mine rescue crew shall undergo an annual medical examination. The chief may designate to perform an examination any individual authorized by the Revised Code to do so, including a physician assistant, a clinical nurse specialist, a certified nurse practitioner, or a certified nurse-midwife. In designating the individual to perform a medical examination, the chief shall choose one near the station of the member of the rescue crews. The examiner shall report the examination results to the chief and if, in the opinion of the chief, the report indicates that the member is physically unfit for further services, the chief shall relieve the member from further duty. The fee charged by the examiner for the examination shall be paid in the same manner as fees are paid to doctors employed by the industrial commission for special medical examinations.

The chief may remove any member of a rescue crew for any reason. Such crews shall be subject to the orders of the chief, the superintendent, and the deputy mine inspectors when engaged in actual mine rescue work. Mine rescue crews shall, in case of death or injury when engaged in rescue work, wherever the same may occur, be paid compensation, or their dependents shall be paid death benefits, from the workers' compensation fund, in the same manner as other employees of the state.

(C) In addition to the training of rescue crews, each assistant superintendent of rescue stations, with the approval of the superintendent, shall provide for and conduct safety, first aid, and rescue classes at any mine or for any group of miners who make application for the conducting of such classes. The chief may assess a fee for safety and first aid classes for the purpose of covering the costs associated with providing those classes. The chief shall establish a fee schedule for safety and first aid classes by rule adopted in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code. Fees collected under this section shall be deposited in the surface mining fund created in section 1514.06 of the Revised Code.

The superintendent shall prescribe and provide for a uniform schedule of conducting such safety and rescue classes as will provide a competent knowledge of modern safety and rescue methods in, at, and about mines.

(D) No member of a mine rescue crew who performs mine rescue at an underground coal mine and no operator of a mine whose employee participates as a member of such a mine rescue crew is liable in any civil action that arises under the laws of this state for damage or injury caused in the performance of rescue work at an underground coal mine. However, a member of such a mine rescue crew may be liable if the member acted with malicious purpose, in bad faith, or in a wanton or reckless manner.

This division does not eliminate, limit, or reduce any immunity from civil liability that is conferred on a member of such a mine rescue crew or an operator by any other provision of the Revised Code or by case law.

Effective Date: 03-31-2003; 2008 SB323 06-11-2008