In late September, MSHA announced the award of $1 million in Brookwood-Sago Mine Safety grant program funding to support education and training to help identify, avoid and prevent unsafe working conditions in and around the nation’s mines.
“We are seeing an increase in mining fatalities, particularly powered haulage fatalities, and we must reverse this trend. The Mine Safety and Health Administration’s top priority is the safety and well-being of people working in and around mines,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Jeannette J. Galanis.
“Mine workers are a critical resource and grants like these help support the mining community’s training and education needs and promote ways to protect miners better.”
Established by the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 (MINER Act), the program honors 25 miners who died in mine disasters at the Jim Walter Resources #5 mine in Brookwood, Ala., in 2001, and at the Sago Mine in Buckhannon, W.Va., in 2006.
Brookwood-Sago grants enable recipients to develop training materials, provide mine safety training or educational programs, recruit mine operators and miners for the training, and conduct and evaluate the training. They are a critical part of MSHA’s emphasis on programs and materials for miners at smaller mines, including training miners and employers about new federal standards and high-risk activities or hazards that MSHA identifies.
The grant recipients are:
• Arizona Board of Regents, University of Arizona in Tucson received $140,000 to develop app-based training materials to enhance training for belt conveyor safety, electrical hazards, and accidents with powered haulage.
• Colorado Department of Natural Resources in Denver received $95,000 to develop an innovative video that will focus the need for mitigation for mine emergencies, risk, preparedness and readiness assessments.
• Colorado School of Mines in Golden received $95,000 to develop an energy-based hazard recognition-training module.
• Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy in Big Stone Gap received $50,000 to provide virtual reality training to simulate real time conditions at mine sites.
• Trustees of Indiana University in Bloomington received $50,000 to develop training materials aimed at preventing respiratory hazards, particularly those associated with mining operations and recent biohazards including the coronavirus.
• Local 49 IUOE Apprenticeship and Training Program in Hinckley, Minn., received $50,000 to develop a training simulation device that will simulate training scenarios that involve fall protection, respiratory protection, working in confined spaces, electrical hazard awareness and powered haulage awareness.
• Marshall University Research Corp. in Huntington, W.Va., received $130,000 to develop videos on powered haulage safety, fire safety emergency preparedness and personal protective equipment.
• South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City received $120,000 to provide virtual reality training materials on mine emergency prevention and awareness.
• Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Cumberland received $50,000 to develop new training material for Part 46 and Part 48 for miners.
• The University of Texas at Arlington received $50,000 to develop disaster prevention and preparedness training materials for the mining community, as well as $70,000 to develop and implement virtual reality based training materials to prevent or reduce powered haulage accidents in small mines.
• United Mine Workers of America Career Centers, Inc., in Prosperity, Pa., received $50,000 to develop a two-segment multimedia instructional package on Belt Conveyor Safety Awareness, and Mine Emergency Escape Interactive Exercises.
• West Virginia Research Corp. in Morgantown received $50,000 to provide emergency prevention and preparedness training to coal miners and coal mine operators in the areas of Self Contained Self Rescuer expectations and mine rescue.