MSHA Awards $500,000 in Mine Safety Grants

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) recently announced awarded $500,000 in grant funds to six organizations that provide education and training within the mining industry.

The Brookwood-Sago grants program was established through a provision in the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006. The funding for fiscal year 2009 will target the development and implementation of training and training materials for mine emergency preparedness and haulage safety.

"Although the training services of the six grant recipients will be targeted toward underground coal mines, MSHA opened up the application process this year to metal and nonmetal mines," said Dr. Gregory R. Wagner, MSHA's deputy assistant secretary for policy. "Ultimately, our goal is the same: To identify, avoid and prevent unsafe working conditions in and around all mines."

Training grants are awarded for a 12-month project performance period. Applicants must be states or nonprofit entities. This year’s grants were awarded to the following recipients:

  • United Mine Workers of America Career Centers was awarded $103,000 to develop training materials that will include command, control and critical thinking.
  • Pennsylvania State University was awarded $153,000 to design, develop and implement a mine emergency training program on refuge alternatives that uses a multi-media approach.
  • Colorado School of Mines was awarded $90,000 to focus on incident command center and mine rescue training, and develop computer simulation training and field exercises through the use of training simulators.
  • Rend Lake College of Ina, Ill., was awarded $50,000 for the re-establishment of its coal miner training program in southern Illinois.
  • The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy was awarded $54,000 for its mine emergency fire fighting training program, which will include certifying miners, especially at smaller mines.
  • The Illinois Department of Natural Resources was awarded $50,000 for the development of DVDs and online training materials on the use, care and maintenance of self-contained breathing apparatuses, and the roles and responsibilities of mine rescue team members.

The grants were named in remembrance of the 13 men who died in two explosions at the Jim Walter Resources #5 mine in Brookwood, Ala., in 2001 and 12 men who died in an explosion at the Sago Mine in Buchannon, W.Va., in 2006.

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