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

Released Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Pennsylvania Team Takes Top Honors in National Mine Rescue Contest

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - For the second straight year, Consol Energy's Enlow Fork Mine, from West Finley, Pa., was the national mine rescue team champion in the 2003 National Mine Rescue, First Aid, Bench and Preshift Contest held last week at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center. White County Coal, LLC's Pattiki Mine from Carmi, Ill., finished second, and Energy West Mining of Huntington, Utah rounded out the top three.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao, who became the first sitting labor secretary to attend a national mine rescue contest, observed several of the 40 participating teams in action. The biannual competition is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

"I think that mine rescuers represent the best of America," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Dave D. Lauriski at the awards banquet. "When their rescue skills are summoned - no matter where that call originates - I know that offers of help will come from all corners of this country, because that's the nature of mine rescuers."

Other first-place winners in the competition:

Bench BG174A:Eastern Associated Coal, Wharton, W.Va.
Bench BG4:Massey Energy Co., Sidney, Ky.
First Aid:Jim Walter Resources, Brookwood, Ala.
Combination Mine Rescue/ First Aid:Energy West Mining, Huntington, Utah
Preshift: Eastern Associated Coal, Fairview, W.Va.

Mine rescue competitions are designed to test the knowledge of miners who might be called upon to respond to a real mine emergency. Teams must solve a hypothetical mine emergency problem - such as a fire, explosion or cave-in - and are judged on accuracy and speed. Benchmen must inspect breathing devices and correct existing defects, while preshift competitors must examine the mine layout area prior to the working shift. For complete contest results, visit MSHA's web site at