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DOL/MSHA News Release No. 02-038
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Rodney Brown
Phone: (703) 235-1452

Released Friday, January 18, 2002

Assistant Secretary Of Labor Praises Kansas Mining Industry
Lauriski Addresses Annual Safety Awards Luncheon

WICHITA - The Kansas mining industry deserves praise for its safety record, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Dave D. Lauriski told an industry convention in Wichita today. Kansas had zero mining fatalities last year and the year before, while Kansas mine operators' rate of serious injuries has declined almost 50 percent in the past four years.

"Nationally, the metal and nonmetal mining sector set a historic record low with 30 fatalities last year," Lauriski told the Kansas Aggregate Producers' Association (KAPA) and the Kansas Ready Mixed Concrete Association during their joint Annual Safety Awards Luncheon.

Lauriski said that the nation's mines last year met his goal to reduce fatal injuries 15 percent compared with the year before. "Two of our goals over the next four years are to reduce the number of fatalities by 15 percent per year and to reduce our non-fatal days-lost injury rate by 50 percent over this same 4-year period," Lauriski said.

Lauriski said that excellence in safety and health demands close cooperation from individuals and groups. "MSHA needs to be an agency that brings a healthy balance among those activities the Mine Act mandates: enforcement, education and training - which includes compliance assistance - and technical support," he added, "shortly, we will be rolling out the many specific steps we will take in 2002 to bring the way we do business more closely in line with this philosophy and what we have learned from our stakeholders."

MSHA held dozens of stakeholder meetings last year addressing subjects from training to use of data. Kansas has more than 2,000 miners, employed primarily in the sand, gravel and crushed stone industries.