Eight mining operations in Illinois, Louisiana, Nevada, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming have been honored for their outstanding safety records in the annual Sentinels of Safety award programs sponsored by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the National Mining Association.
For the 75th consecutive year, mining companies in various operational categories were recognized for achieving the greatest number of employee work-hours in 2000 without an injury that resulted in lost workdays.
To qualify for a Sentinels of Safety award, a company must compile at least 30,000 employee work-hours during the year without a lost-time injury or fatality.
"I am extremely pleased for each of the winning operations, and pleased for the mining community at large," said MSHA Administrator Dave Lauriski. "The workers at these mines can -- and should -- be justifiably proud of their accomplishments, for they have made safety a value in their jobs. They are living proof that abiding by safety and health standards saves lives, prevents injuries and improves productivity."
An additional 32 mining operations in 18 states were recognized for their exceptional safety records.
Considered the most prestigious award in the mining industry -- as well as the oldest established award for occupational safety -- the Sentinels of Safety competition was created in 1925 by then-Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover.
A former mining engineer, Hoover realized the critical need for improving mine safety at a time when thousands of miners were injured or killed in job-related accidents each year. The award has continued uninterrupted to this day.
The first place winners and their number of consecutive employee-hours recorded in each of the sponsored mining categories are as follows:
Underground Coal Group
Deep Mine #21, Paramount Coal Corp., Dante, Va., 151,753 hours
Surface Coal Group
Antelope Coal Mine, Antelope Coal Co., Gillette, Wyo., 394,735 hours
Underground Metal Group
SSX Mine, AngloGold (Jerritt Canyon) Corp., Elko, Nev., 174,766 hours
Underground Nonmetal Group
Cote Blanche Mine, IMC Salt Inc., Franklin, La., 284,932 hours
Open Pit Group
Rochester Mine, Coeur Rochester Inc., Lovelock, Nev., 254,296 hours
Thornton Quarry, Material Service Corp., Thornton, Ill., 208,816 hours
Bank or Pit Group
Arena Plant, Hanson Aggregates South Central, Altair, Texas, 133,766 hours
Briggs Plant, Fordyce Co., Victoria, Texas, 241,195 hours
by Virginia Foran