Skip to content
DOL/MSHA News Release
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Suzy Bohnert
Phone: (202) 693-9420

Released Tuesday, January 20, 2004

MSHA and International Union of Operating Engineers Sign Alliance Agreement

BAL HARBOUR, Fla. — The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) today announced that it has signed its first alliance agreement with a labor organization, the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), to promote a national dialogue on mine safety and health and homeland security.

"We will use our collective expertise to foster a culture of prevention and preparedness with each group sharing its best practices and technical knowledge to promote safe and healthful working conditions for mine workers and to enhance homeland security," said Dave D. Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "We need to make safety a value and to work in harmony with other organizations, with no barriers between us.

The IUOE is a trade union that represents operating engineers, who work as heavy equipment operators in the mining and construction industries, and stationary engineers who work in maintenance in building and industrial complexes. The IUOE has 400,000 members in approximately 170 locals.

"The 20-year partnership between IUOE and MSHA has resulted in construction workers and miners receiving the highest quality safety and health and hazardous materials and emergency response training. This alliance will provide our organizations with an avenue to expand our combined expertise to address homeland security issues," said IUOE General President Frank Hanley. "The IUOE and MSHA have demonstrated their ability to respond to disaster at the World Trade Center and Quecreek, respectively, and this alliance will build an even stronger, well-prepared work force."

At the underground coal mine known as Quecreek near Somerset, Pa., nine miners were trapped in July 2002 for three days by in-rushing water.

Under the agreement, MSHA and IUOE will collaborate on mine and disaster response techniques involving rescues, recoveries and hazardous materials emergencies. The groups will conduct evaluations of applied engineering to improve a national response and conduct analyses to identify potentially hazardous situations or conditions.

MSHA and the IUOE will work on education and training goals using MSHA's National Mine Health and Safety Academy and the IUOE's International Environmental Technology and Training Center, which are in Beckley, W. Va. Both organizations will work to raise awareness about mine safety and health by expanding outreach efforts and communication through print and electronic media.

   - See Lauriski Statement