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DOL News Release No. 04-1938-NAT
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Suzy Bohnert
Phone: (202) 693-9420

Released Tuesday, September 28, 2004

MSHA, BCOA and NMA Act to Improve Miner Health and Safety
Groups Form Alliance to Foster Safe and Healthy Mining Operations

LAS VEGAS - The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the Bituminous Coal Operators Association (BCOA), and the National Mining Association (NMA) today agreed to form a cooperative alliance to foster increased safety and health among workers in the U.S. mining industry.

"We are delighted to have the official cooperation of the Bituminous Coal Operators Association and the National Mining Association in our efforts to keep miners safe and healthy while on the job," said Dave D. Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Both of these fine organizations have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the safety and health of America's miners and can only strengthen MSHA's ongoing effort to send each and every miner home safe and healthy after each shift."

"MSHA, BCOA and the NMA hereby form an alliance through the use of collective efforts, expertise and leadership to foster a culture of injury prevention and dedicate the necessary resources to address the prevailing safety and health challenges of the mining industry," said Jack Gerard, president and chief executive officer of the NMA.

"An industry alliance with MSHA gives us all an opportunity to further improve mining health and safety," said David Young, president of the BCOA. "For too long we have tried to achieve the same goal by pursuing a separate agenda rather than sharing our knowledge for the common good."

Under the agreement, MSHA, BCOA and the NMA will partner to promote safer working conditions for miners by collaborating on special safety and health initiatives and by sharing best practices on effective approaches to controlling safety and health hazards. The groups will work together to achieve education and training goals through active participation in mining-related workshops, round-table discussions and other forums. The groups plan to work to raise awareness and demonstrate organizational commitment to miners by embracing safety and health as key values and promoting that commitment in public statements, presentations and addresses to other groups.

The NMA is a national trade organization that represents the interests of mining before Congress, the administration, federal agencies, the judiciary and the media. The BCOA represents its members in collective bargaining with the United Mine Workers of America. The BCOA also represents its members before Congress and the executive branch on coal mine health and safety and on retiree health and pension issues.