The Department of Labor awarded nearly $1 million in grants to support the development and delivery of education and training at 10 organizations aimed at identifying, preventing and preventing unsafe working conditions in and around the country’s mines.
Supported by the Brookwood-Sago Mine Safety grant program, recipients will create training materials, sponsor and conduct mine safety training or educational programs and evaluate their effectiveness.
The Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) says the awards align with the department’s focus on providing programs and materials for smaller mines and the miners who work there. The MSHA seeks to educate miners and industry employers about new federal standards and high-risk activities or hazards.
“The Mine Safety and Health Administration exists to protect the safety and health of the nation’s miners,” says Chris Williamson, MSHA associate secretary. “The tragedies at the Brookwood and Sago mines are stark reminders of the risks miners face in the course of their work. The grants we are making today will support the critical education and training that the people who work in our mines need and deserve.”
Recipients of this year’s Brookwood-Sago grants include:
• The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa was awarded $158,962 to develop training materials for a three-hour, instructor-led course to raise awareness of workplace hazards for new, novice open pit operators.
• The Arizona Board of Regents at the University of Arizona at Tucson was awarded $157,936 for comprehensive training, assessment and compliance reporting tools related to a project entitled: “SMARTer Training: A Data-Driven, Collaborative Toolkit to Improve Training and Reporting Results for Contractors and Small Mine Operators.”
• Hutchinson Community College in Kansas received $100,300 for hazard awareness training materials, including virtual reality simulations and traditional materials used to train miners in Kansas and Nebraska.
• The Southeast Community and Technical College of Kentucky was awarded $82,438 for the development, marketing, supply and evaluation of Parts 46 and 48 for coal and metal/nonmetal powered transportation and mobile equipment safety training.
• The United Mine Workers of America Career Centers in Pennsylvania received $55,046 to develop a bilingual miner’s legal rights awareness program to supplement existing miner’s legal rights training that can either be used to educate new miners or to enhance experienced miners’ understanding of legal rights under US laws and regulations and the appropriate responses when they encounter unsafe or unhealthy working conditions.
• The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology was awarded $120,000 to develop virtual reality training, interactive training materials and a new miner training program focused on avoiding unsafe conditions in mines.
• Western Dakota Technical College in Rapid City, South Dakota, received $109,945 for training in power transportation, mobile equipment safety, 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 for reducing miner workplace injuries and fatalities. The grant is also aimed at developing fall prevention training for miners.
• The Virginia Department of Energy at Big Stone Gap received $50,000 to improve virtual reality training, simulating conditions at mine sites to identify, avoid and prevent unsafe working conditions and unsafe practices in and around mines to avoid accidents that could possibly cause the workplace.
• West Virginia Research Corp. in Morgantown received $100,657 for emergency prevention and preparedness training for coal miners and coal mine operators in mine rescue training and dry chemical firefighting training.