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MSHA News Release No. 98-0715
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Katherine Snyder or Amy Louviere
Phone: (703) 235-1452

Federal Mine Safety Agency Aims To Improve Miner Training

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is strengthening its educational and training arm and increasing its efforts to improve the quantity and quality of training assistance provided to the mining industry, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Davitt McAteer announced.

"Workers need and deserve effective safety and health training to meet the many potential hazards they face," McAteer said, speaking to MSHA education and training employees today at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley, W.Va. "Only with effective training can miners and mine operators recognize possible hazards and know the safe procedures to follow. This reorganization will mean greater emphasis, more flexibility, and better coordination of mine safety and health training efforts.

"Decades ago, Federal mine safety instructors traveled from mine to mine in special railroad cars. Like them, our instructors will be spending more time at the mines, interacting with mine managers and miners," McAteer said.

The reorganization places MSHA's approximately 50 education and training specialists under the agency's Educational Policy and Development activity. Previously these specialists were under the direction of district managers in enforcement districts.

So they can keep in close touch with the mines they serve, MSHA's education and training specialists will remain stationed at their current locations in approximately 30 MSHA offices throughout the country's mining regions. However, they will now be able to work across enforcement district boundaries, wherever the need is greatest.

"In reviewing our education and training functions, we carefully considered recommendations by management and labor in both the coal and metal and nonmetal mining industries," McAteer said.

McAteer noted that reorganization of MSHA's education and training activity also was one of some 100 recommendations made by a special advisory committee on ending pneumoconiosis in the coal mining industry.

MSHA's education and training specialists provide on-site assistance at mines, advise mine safety and health instructors, review mine operators' training plans, assist with local mining community safety and health activities, and participate in special safety and health initiatives.