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

Released Wednesday, June 11, 2003

MSHA Awards Pennsylvania, Delaware Grants for Training, Education
Agency Director Brings Mine Safety Message to Anthracite Region

READING, Pa.- The U. S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has awarded the state of Pennsylvania an outreach grant totaling $491,564 for the purpose of training miners in Pennsylvania in mine safety and health activities. Pennsylvania has approximately 925 active mines and 14,801 miners.

Pennsylvania State University also received an additional grant of $3,720 to train miners and contractors in Delaware where there are approximately nine active mines and 130 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, who today visited the Orchard Coal Company's Orchard Slope in Schuylkill County.

"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.

"These grants will enable the states of Pennsylvania and Delaware 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.

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 Pennsylvania interested in participating in training sessions should contact Matt Bertovich, Bureau of Deep Mine Safety, at (724) 439-7469. Those interested in the training in Delaware should contact Chris Bise, Pennsylvania State University, at (814) 863-1644.