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US Department of Labor awards $985K to fund mine safety awareness, education, training in key mining industry states

WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of $985,284 in grants to support the development and delivery of education and training by 10 organizations that will help identify, avoid and prevent unsafe working conditions in, and around the nation’s mines.

Supported by the Brookwood-Sago Mine Safety grant program, recipients will create training materials, promote and conduct mine safety training or educational programs, and evaluate their effectiveness. The awards align with the department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration’s emphasis on targeting programs and materials for smaller mines and the miners working at them. MSHA is seeking to educate miners and industry employers about new federal standards, and high-risk activities or hazards the agency identifies.

“The Mine Safety and Health Administration exists to protect the safety and health of the nation’s miners,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson. “The tragedies at the Brookwood and Sago mines are stark reminders of the risks miners face on the job. The grants we’re awarding today will support critically important training and education that the people working in our mines need and deserve.”

Established under the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006, the program honors 25 miners who died in mine disasters at the Jim Walter Resources #5 mine in Brookwood, Alabama, in 2001, and at the Sago Mine in Buckhannon, West Virginia, in 2006.

The recipients Brookwood-Sago grants in fiscal year 2022 are as follows:

  • University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa received $158,962 to develop training materials for a three-hour, instructor-led course to raise workplace hazards awareness among new, inexperienced surface mine operators.
  • Arizona Board of Regents at the University of Arizona in Tucson received $157,936 for comprehensive training, assessment and compliance reporting tools in its “SMARTer Training: A Data-Driven, Collaborative Toolkit to Improve Training and Reporting Outcomes for Contractors and Small Mine Operators” project.
  • Hutchinson Community College in Kansas received $100,300 for hazard recognition training materials to include virtual reality simulation and traditional materials to train Kansas and Nebraska miners.
  • Southeast Community and Technical College in Cumberland, Kentucky, received $82,438 to develop, market, deliver and evaluate Parts 46 and 48 coal and metal nonmetal Powered Haulage and Mobile Equipment Safety Training.
  • United Mine Workers of America Career Centers Inc. in Prosperity, Pennsylvania, received $55,046 to develop a bilingual “Miners’ Statutory Rights Awareness” training program to complement existing miner’s statutory rights training that may be used to either inform new miners or reinforce the understanding of experienced miners of their legal rights under U.S. laws and regulations and the appropriate response(s) if they encounter unsafe or unhealthy working conditions.
  • South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City received $120,000 to develop virtual reality training, interactive training materials and New Miner Training Program focused on prevention of unsafe conditions in mines, bring awareness to hazards and preparedness.
  • Western Dakota Technical College, also in Rapid City received $109,945 for training focused on power haulage and mobile equipment safety, and mine emergency prevention and preparedness.
  • The University of Texas at Arlington received $50,000 for training materials focused on identifying fall hazards and best practices in reducing minors’ workplace injuries and fatalities; and to develop fall prevention training for miners.
  • Virginia Department of Energy in Big Stone Gap received $50,000 to enhance the virtual reality training to simulate conditions at mine sites to help identify, avoid and prevent unsafe working conditions and avoid unsafe acts, in and around mines with the potential to cause accidents in the workplace.
  • West Virginia Research Corp. in Morgantown received $100,657 to provide emergency prevention and preparedness training to coal miners and coal mine operators in mine rescue training and dry chemical fire training to respond to emergencies involving fire in underground coal mines.

Learn more about MSHA.

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