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DOL Press Release - 05-1753-NAT
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Suzy Bohnert    Dirk Fillpot
Phone: (202) 693-9420    (202) 693-4676

Released Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sentinels of Safety Winners Recognized for Outstanding Safety Records
More Mines Eligible to Win Coveted Award

ARLINGTON, Va.-The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the National Mining Association (NMA) today recognized 20 mining operations for their outstanding 2004 safety records during the Sentinels of Safety awards program in Washington, D.C.

"Sixty percent of all U.S. mines can compete for the Sentinels of Safety honor now," said David G. Dye, acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "The changes to the awards criteria enhance the Sentinels program and lead us toward the goal of zero fatalities and injuries."

MSHA and the NMA worked to develop the new Sentinels awards criteria for two years. The contest recognizes mining companies in various operational categories for achieving the greatest number of employee work hours in 2004 without a fatal injury or an injury that resulted in lost workdays. These companies also had a no-workdays-lost incidence rate less than the national average for their group. To qualify for the Sentinels award, a company had to compile at least 4,000 employee work hours during the year.

The revamped awards program created two new categories for metal and nonmetal mills and coal processing facilities and enabled smaller operations to participate. The field of winners increased from eight last year to 20 this year.

The Sentinels of Safety award is the oldest established award for occupational safety. The first awards were announced by President Herbert Hoover, a former mining engineer, when he was Secretary of Commerce in 1925. The annual safety competition has continued to the present.

MSHA's primary mission as a federal agency is to ensure worker safety and health in the nation's mines. A list of first-place winners and their number of consecutive employee hours recorded in each of the sponsored mining categories can be viewed on the Internet at

     Awards home page