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MSHA News Release: [01/19/2006]
Contact: Dirk Fillpot
Phone Number: (202) 693-9406
Release Number: 06-86-NAT

MSHA Issues New Mine Rescue and Safety Training Grants

ARLINGTON, Va -The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) today announced more than $4 million in grants to provide mine safety and health training for miners in 20 states. The grants announced today are part of more than $7.9 million in health and safety training grants issued by MSHA for fiscal year 2006.

"The recent tragedy in West Virginia is a reminder to all Americans that mine safety must always be a top priority," said MSHA Acting Assistant Secretary David Dye. "These grants are part of MSHA's ongoing commitment to advance miner safety and health through funds for state-of-the-art mine rescue equipment and strong safety training."

One of the grantees, West Virginia's Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training, will receive over half a million dollars to fund training for mine rescue team members, safety certifications for miners, and its Comprehensive Mine Safety Program. Part of the grant will be used to contract with West Virginia University, which conducts the certification process for mine electricians and new miner training classes.

Grantees will use the funds to provide federally mandated training to miners. The grants cover training and retraining of miners working at surface and underground coal and metal and nonmetal mines, including miners who engage in shell dredging or are employed at surface stone and sand and gravel mining operations.

Other states receiving grants at this time are: California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania (includes money for Delaware, as Pennsylvania conducts the training for Delaware), Tennessee, Washington and Wyoming. States apply for the grants, which are administered by state mine inspectors' offices, state departments of labor or state-supported colleges and universities. Each recipient tailors the program to its state miners' individual needs and provides technical assistance.

The state grant program was authorized by the Coal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1969. States first received funding in 1971 to provide health and safety training to miners.

MSHA's primary mission as a federal agency is to ensure worker safety and health in the nation's mines.

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NOTE: A full list of state-by-state grant allocations is attached.