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DOL News Release No. 04-1319-NAT
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Suzy Bohnert
Phone: (202) 693-9420

Released Monday, July 19, 2004

MSHA and Ironworkers Union Form Safety Alliance

ARLINGTON, Va.--The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) today announced the development of a safety alliance with the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers to foster safe and healthy working conditions at U.S. mining operations.

"We are delighted to have the support of the Ironworkers union to help MSHA promote improved safety and health conditions for workers at American mining operations," said Dave D. Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Alliances with substantive, positive and active labor organizations, such as the Ironworkers, give the mining industry another organization that will focus energy and resources on improving safety and health conditions. The Ironworkers will help MSHA meet its goal of sending every miner home safe and healthy after each shift."

"Our union is committed to safety. Working closely with MSHA furthers that commitment," said Ironworkers International General President Joseph J. Hunt. "This new alliance will help to improve the safety of our worksites; that benefits our signatory union contractors and all the members of our international union."

Under the alliance, the Ironworkers union will work cooperatively with MSHA to enhance mine safety. The two groups will collaborate on worker safety and health improvement techniques in structural steel erection, welding, reinforcing, fall protection and concrete erection. Both organizations will work together on mine emergency response, and rescue and recovery techniques for construction and demolition sites.

MSHA and the Ironworkers will develop training programs for employees working on or near mine construction projects. Each will promote a national dialogue on mine safety and health issues and share information on best practices.

"We are fortunate to have the support of an organization that makes the safety and health of working men and women a priority," Lauriski added.

Established in 1896, the Ironworkers union has approximately 140,000 members.

The alliance with the Ironworkers is the second mine safety and health agreement MSHA has developed with a labor organization. MSHA signed an alliance agreement with the International Union of Operating Engineers in January 2004.