David Lauriski Resigns as MSHA Administrator

November 19 will be the last day David Lauriski spends as assistant secretary of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration. There is no word yet on whether Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao or OSHA Administrator John Henshaw plan to continue in their positions during President George W. Bush's second term.

Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced Lauriski's resignation on Nov. 12.

"As assistant secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, Dave Lauriski has been an outstanding leader who brought with him 30 years of coal mining experience, tested safety management skills, and profound respect for the dignity of coal miners. Under Dave's leadership, MSHA has achieved record-low mining industry fatalities and injuries, proactive safety initiatives that will save more lives in the future, and a focused MSHA better able to serve and protect America's mine industry workers," said Chao. "The general American public probably remembers Dave most for his fierce determination to bring the Quecreek miners to safety and be reunited with their families. His compassion and concern for the nation's miners stems from his own experience as a son of a coal miner and he will be greatly missed."

Lauriski is the seventh assistant secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 9, 2001.

"I am truly grateful for the trust and support provided to me by President Bush and Secretary Chao during my tenure at the Mine Safety and Health Administration. When I was appointed assistant secretary of MSHA, both the president and the secretary set goals and expectations for America's miners. I am proud to say that we have made substantial progress in moving toward those objectives.

He added that at MSHA, we have remained committed to seeing that every miner goes home healthy and safe at the end of each shift. And now, due to personal circumstances, I am heading home at the end of my shift at MSHA to devote more time to my family in Colorado."

Under Lauriski's leadership, enforcement has continued to provide the foundation for MSHA's compliance activities, but education, training and technical assistance have played an increased role in the agency's efforts. Lauriski has pushed for change in safety and health practices within the mining community, so that safety would be ingrained in each company as a value, while bringing the human element in safety to the attention of the mining industry.

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