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

Released Friday, March 21, 2003

MSHA Awards Missouri Grant for Training and Education
Mine Safety and Health Director Addresses Southeastern Missouri Mine Safety Association

PARK HILLS, Mo.- The U. S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has awarded the state of Missouri a grant totaling $193,785 for training, education and other mine safety and health activities. Missouri has approximately 383 active mines and 6,140 miners. The amount is part of an overall grant of nearly $7.8 million being made this year to 48 states and the Navajo Nation.

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

"This grant will enable the state of Missouri 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.

Lauriski spoke last evening at the Southeastern Missouri Mine Safety Association's Annual State Awards Banquet. Earlier in the day, he toured Mississippi Lime Company's surface and underground limestone mine in Ste. Genevieve.

At the banquet, Lauriski noted that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 when, for the first time, safety and health in the metal and nonmetal mining industry and the coal mining industry were joined under one legislative roof.

"Since that time, mining fatalities in this country have declined from 242 in 1978 to the record low of 67 last year, a decrease of 72 percent," said Lauriski. "In 2001 and 2002, the American mining industry achieved its two safest years on record," he added.

As a state grants participant, Missouri provides entry-level training for those starting in the mining industry as well as 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 Missouri interested in participating in training sessions should contact Steve Dunn of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations at (573) 751-3403.