$250K in Mine Safety Grants Awarded

Whether or not coal jobs ever return to Appalachia, as President Trump has promised, the federal government is trying to make good on its commitment to improve working conditions in existing mines.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration announced yesterday it has awarded $250,000 to five organizations to develop training programs and materials to better identify, avoid and prevent unsafe working conditions in and around mines.

A provision in the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 established the Brookwood-Sago grant program to promote safety and honor 25 men who died in Brookwood, Alabama, in 2001 at the Jim Walter Resources #5 mine, and in Buckhannon, West Virginia, in 2006 at the Sago Mine.

The recipients of the 2017 grants:

  • Colorado Department of Natural Resources in Denver is receiving $50,000 to promote and provide innovative and realistic mine rescue training through skills training events, mine emergency response development exercises, contests and individual special topic training. The program will focus on the benefits of risk-readiness and self-assessment.
  • Illinois Eastern Community College in Olney is receiving $50,000 to provide advanced mine rescue and basic firefighting techniques for mine rescue teams, and basic mine rescue techniques for fire brigade teams. The curricula will incorporate training in a new simulated mine (with gear, both in and out of smoke), a burn tunnel and a newly constructed facility with live video of all simulated mine training.
  • Oconee Fall Line Technical College in Sandersville, Georgia, is receiving $50,000 to develop and provide confined space training that will focus on recognizing, evaluating and controlling safety and health hazards associated with confined space entry. The training materials can be replicated across the country and available to other trainers.
  • Pennsylvania State University in University Park is receiving $50,000 to develop education and training materials for MSHA instructors and new underground stone miners. Mine instructors will use the updated and improved training materials during 40-hour new miner training to help miners better understand the hazards posed by the mining process.
  • Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy in Big Stone Gap is receiving $50,000 to provide training and educational materials designed to prevent unsafe working environments, with a special emphasis on state and federal standards, high-risk activities and hazards. The training will be based on the requirements of  30 CFR 48.5 that will help the new miner understand proper mining procedures, terminology, basic safety and health hazards, and safety procedures prior to entering the mine.
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