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DOL/MSHA News Release USDL [02-545]
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Rodney Brown
Phone: (202) 693-9425

Released Thursday, September 19, 2002

News Release

MSHA Recognizes Safest U.S. Mining Operations

Washington - The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), in cooperation with the National Mining Association, has named eight U.S. mining operations as winners of its annual "Sentinels of Safety" award in recognition of their outstanding safety records during 2001. Winning mining operations are from Alabama, Arizona, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.

"Qualifying to win this award requires an exemplary commitment to safety and health in the workplace," said Dave D. Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "The winners all deserve the highest praise for their efforts to work safely each and every day."

Since 1926, mining operations in various operational categories have been recognized for achieving the highest number of employee work-hours without an injury that resulted in lost time from work. To qualify for a Sentinels of Safety award, a company must compile at least 30,000 employee work-hours during the year without a lost-time injury or fatality.

The eight winners were the Deep Mine #30 of Paramont Coal Corp. in Dante, Va.; the Black Thunder Mine of Thunder Basin Coal Co., in Wright, Wyo.; the Young Mine of ASARCO, Inc., in Strawberry Plains, Tenn.; the Weeping Water Mine of Martin Marietta Aggregates in Weeping Water, Neb.; the Phelps Dodge Sierrita, Inc., of Phelps Dodge Mining Co. in Green Valley, Ariz.; the Imerys Gantts Quarry of Imerys Carbonates, LLC in Sylacauga, Ala.; the Arena Plant of Hanson Aggregates South Central in Altair, Tex.; and the Briggs Plant of Fordyce, Ltd. in Victoria, Texas. An additional 32 mining operations in 17 states were also recognized for their exceptional safety records.

Considered the most prestigious award in the mining industry -- as well as the oldest established award for occupational safety -- the Sentinels of Safety competition was begun in 1925 by then-Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover.

The 2002 Sentinels of Safety Awards will be presented on Thursday, Sept.19, during a luncheon at the Washington Court Hotel located at 525 New Jersey Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.