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DOL/MSHA News Release
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Amy Louviere
Phone: (202) 693-9423

Released Tuesday, March 4, 2003

MSHA Awards Illinois More than $220,000 for Training, Education
Federal, State Agencies to Hold Joint Safety Conference

ARLINGTON, Va.- The U. S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has awarded the state of Illinois a $221,381 grant for training, education and other mine safety and health activities. Staff from MSHA and the Illinois state agency responsible for mining safety and health will hold a joint safety conference on March 4-6, at the Starved Rock Lodge in Ottowa, Ill.

"Education and training are primary tools that help us achieve the healthiest and safest mines possible," said Dave D. Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "They comprise one of the three key elements - along with enforcement and technical assistance - that make up MSHA's Triangle of Success. These are the three tools the law provides to influence safety and health in the mining industry.

"This grant will enable the state of Illinois to work toward a goal that we all share - ensuring that every miner returns home safely at the end of every working shift," Lauriski added.

The conference starts at 1 p.m. on March 4, and 8 a.m. the following two mornings. MSHA will present an analysis of Illinois mining fatalities in 2002 and discuss future challenges. Mine managers, contractors, safety consultants and other safety and health professionals will attend.

Illinois has approximately 376 active mines and 8,029 miners. The grant is part of an overall award of nearly $7.8 million being made this year to 48 states and the Navajo Nation.

States participating in the grant program provide a variety of instruction - from entry-level training for those who are starting in the mining industry to annual refresher classes and instructor courses for those who will be training other miners. Many of those courses meet the requirements under federal training standards.

Other training covers responding to medical emergencies at remote mining sites, noise abatement, mine rescue, water hazards rescue, and certifications for various jobs ranging from electrician to hoisting engineer.

Mining operations in Illinois interested in participating in training sessions should contact Mr. Kim Underwood of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at (217) 782-7676.

For further information about the joint safety conference, call (618) 439-9111.