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

Released Wednesday, March 31, 2004

MSHA Tri-State Safety Summit in Beckley, W. Va., on April 1

ARLINGTON, Va.-The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will conduct a Tri-State Safety and Health Summit on April 1 at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley, W. Va. The summit will address best practices in mine safety and health and regulatory solutions to improve the safety performance of mine operators and miners in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

"A majority of the nation's fatal mining accidents have occurred in this tri-state area. We need to examine strategies and best practices that will prevent these occurrences and keep miners safe on the job," said John R. Correll, deputy assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "We want to meet with recognized mining industry leaders and others to examine the overall safety performance in a region of the country where a significant amount of mining takes place."

Four of the seven coal mining fatalities that have occurred in 2004 in the United States happened in the tri-state region. Of the 30 coal mining fatalities nationwide last year, 21 occurred in Kentucky, Virginia or West Virginia. In 2002, 19 of the 27 coal mining fatalities that year occurred in the tri-state region.

The summit agenda includes presentations by state officials, mining company representatives and MSHA staff. Topics include lessons learned from boom-truck fatalities, supervisor responsibilities and incidence rate reduction programs.

State mining agency personnel, mine operators, miners and other mining industry representatives are encouraged to attend the daylong event, which begins at 8 a.m. No registration is needed.

"The idea is to look at a variety of best practices for managing and eliminating mining hazards, with the ultimate result of preventing future accidents," Correll added. "Our goal is to send every miner home safe and healthy after each shift."