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DOL News Release No: 04-2338-NAT
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Eryn Witcher
Phone: (202) 693-4676

Released Friday, November 12, 2004

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Dave D. Lauriski Announces
His Plans for Departure
Leaves behind a legacy of accomplishments and strong safety record

WASHINGTON — Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced today the resignation of Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Dave D. Lauriski. Lauriski is departing his post at the Department of Labor on Friday, November 19, 2004.

"As Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health, Dave Lauriski has been an outstanding leader who brought with him 30 years of coal mining experience, tested safety management skills, and profound respect for the dignity of coal miners. Under Dave's leadership, MSHA has achieved record-low mining industry fatalities and injuries, proactive safety initiatives that will save more lives in the future, and a focused MSHA better able to serve and protect America's mine industry workers," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "The general American public probably remembers Dave most for his fierce determination to bring the Quecreek miners to safety and be reunited with their families. His compassion and concern for the nation's miners stems from his own experience as a son of a coal miner and he will be greatly missed."

David D. Lauriski is the seventh Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 9, 2001. Under this Administration, the mining industry has achieved the lowest number of mine fatalities since statistics were first recorded in 1910. Mining fatalities dropped 34 percent between 2000 and 2003. Under Dave Lauriski's leadership, enforcement has continued to provide the foundation for MSHA's compliance activities, but education, training, and technical assistance have played an increased role in the agency's efforts. Lauriski has pushed for change in safety and health practices within the mining community, so that safety would be ingrained in each company as a value, while bringing the human element in safety to the attention of the mining industry.