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MSHA News Release No. 96-015
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Rodney Brown
Phone: (703) 235-1456

August 8, 1996


One of the world's largest facilities dedicated solely to furthering a safer and more healthful mining workplace, the U.S. Department of Labor's National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley, WVa., will commemorate 20 years of education and training assistance to the nation and the world's mining community with an anniversary celebration at the Academy on Friday, August 16, 1996.

Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) will deliver the keynote address and Representative Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) along with many others from mining, academia and government are scheduled to attend the celebration which will begin at 10 a.m. in the gymnasium and is open to the public.

"This unique facility has played a prominent role in the reduction of mining deaths and injuries during the past twenty years," said J. Davitt McAteer, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Not only do we commemorate the Academy's twenty years of service to the nation's miners, but we also rededicate this vital institution to excellence in the twenty- first century."

As part of the celebration, Academy personnel will conduct live demonstrations of various mining equipment and the most up-to-date industry training technology will be on display. There will also be exhibits depicting historic mining industry events.

"We are hopeful that many area residents, particularly miners and their families, will be able to attend," said McAteer. "This event gives us a chance to show the citizens how we protect the health and well-being of many of their neighbors," he added.

Operated by the Labor Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the Academy conducts countless training courses in mine safety and health, distributes educational materials to the mining industry, and conducts hands-on fire fighting and fire suppression training at its mine simulation laboratory. The Academy's facilities are used by miners, mine operators and their represenatives, state, national, and international mine safety organizations, members of academia, as well as MSHA personnel.

The Academy first opened its doors for mine safety and health training in August of 1976. Since that time more than 330,000 mine inspectors, miners, mine operators and other industry personnel have been trained in virtually every aspect of safe mining practices.

Prior to construction of the Academy, Federal mine safety inspectors were trained in a two-story building on South Fayette Street in Beckley.

The National Mine Health and Safety Academy is the seventh permanent Federal academy joining the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Maritime, and FBI Academies in serving the nation.