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DOL/MSHA News Release
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Amy Louviere
Phone: (202) 693-9423

Released Friday, March 28, 2003

North Carolina Awarded Grant for Mine Safety Training, Education
Federal Mine Safety and Health Director Lauds State for Fatality-Free Year in Mining


WILMINGTON, N.C.- The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has awarded the state of North Carolina a grant totaling $145,685 for training, education and other mine safety and health activities. The amount is part of an overall grant of nearly $7.8 million being made this year to 48 states and the Navajo Nation.

"Education and training are among the primary tools available to help us achieve the healthiest and safest mines possible," said Dave D. Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "In fact, they comprise one of the key elements - along with enforcement and technical assistance - that make up MSHA's Triangle of Success. These are the tools that the law provides us to influence safety and health in the mining industry.

"This grant will enable the state of North Carolina to work toward a goal that we all share - ensuring that every miner returns home safely at the end of every working shift," Lauriski added.

Lauriski spoke yesterday at the 26th Mine Safety and Health Conference, sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Labor's Mine and Quarry Bureau. The two-day meeting was held at the Hilton, Wilmington Riverside and featured sessions by North Carolina Department of Labor Commissioner Cherie K. Berry, Bureau Chief of the Mine & Quarry Bureau James Turner, as well as mine safety professionals from around the state.

Lauriski commended North Carolina for achieving zero fatal injuries at its 280 mining operations last year (mines subject to federal mine safety and health laws). "This fits right in with the U.S. mining industry's record-setting years in 2002 and 2001," he said. Mine fatalities overall dropped to 67 in 2002.

In his speech, Lauriski also applauded the N.C. Department of Labor's newly implemented Mining Star Program. Mining Star is aimed at reducing workplace injuries and fatalities, and was created to recognize mine and quarry sites with low injury and illness rates in the hope that other companies will adopt similar safety measures to protect their employees.

Mining is a half-billion dollar industry in North Carolina, employing more than 4,500 people and producing such commodities as clay, shale, sand and gravel, granite, limestone, gypsum and mica.