The recipients of the grants use the funds to provide federally mandated training to miners, including training for new miners and refresher training for miners already working at surface and underground coal and metal mines, as well as miners who engage in shell dredging or are employed at surface stone-mining operations.
Some state recipients have developed videos, DVDs and other training materials through the grants, according to MSHA. Other states have assisted mine operators to produce training plans addressing topics covered under federal regulations.
Past training topics have included hazard recognition, accident prevention, occupational health, roof and ground control, ventilation, mine rescue, mine emergency operations and certification for various jobs ranging from electricians to hoisting engineers.
"Thousands of miners nationwide stand to benefit from the safety and health training these grants provide," said David G. Dye, acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Even though mining fatalities are at record lows, we will not waver in our efforts to further reduce accidents and injuries in the mines. Through the proper training and education of our nation's miners, we can move even closer to our ultimate goal of zero mining fatalities."
States apply for the grants, which are administered by state mine inspectors' offices, state departments of labor or state-supported colleges and universities. Each grant recipient tailors the program to the needs of the state's miners and provides technical assistance.
The state grant program started in 1969 under the Coal Mine Safety and Health Act. The 1977 amendments to the act authorized MSHA to spend up to $10 million annually to assist states in providing health and safety training to miners.
The states receiving the most funds are:
- Kentucky, $600,827
- West Virginia, $535,860
- Pennsylvania, $491,564
- Texas, $397,056
- California, $324,201
- Arizona, $273,909
- Minnesota, $260,538
- Virginia, $254,364
- Ohio, $251,062
- New York, $249,518