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DOL News Release No. 04-1406-NAT
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Suzy Bohnert
Phone: (202) 693-9420

Released Friday, July 23, 2004

MSHA's First State Coal Summit Concludes in Beckley, W. Va.
Officials from 10 States Assemble to Examine Coal Mine Safety Issues


BECKLEY, W. Va.--The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) today concluded its first State Coal Summit where representatives from state mining agencies nationwide discussed topics such as substance abuse in mining, proper training of miners, sharing resources and improving communication. Individuals from 10 states participated in the two-day session at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley, W. Va.

"This coal summit was the first opportunity for MSHA personnel to meet with mine safety and health officials from coal mining states around the nation at the same time," said Dave D. Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "We all have a common goal of zero-as in zero fatalities and zero injuries in the mining industry. This summit was a tremendously valuable opportunity for us to come together and share our thoughts, ideas and experiences on how we can reach that goal."

Summit attendees participated in a group discussion on the depth and scope of substance abuse in mining and listened to presentations on truck haulage safety, proximity detection and slope and shaft sinking operations. Representatives from the state mining agencies of West Virginia; Kentucky; Virginia; Pennsylvania; Illinois; Ohio; Indiana; Oklahoma; Tennessee and New Mexico attended the event.

"I was particularly impressed with the high level of energy and enthusiasm exhibited by the participants," added Lauriski. "We all share a common vision of having every miner return home safe and healthy after each shift. By pooling our talents and working together, we can make that vision a reality and make a real difference in the lives of America's miners."

Compact disks featuring the presentations from the summit will be developed and made available for participants and others. To get a copy of the compact disk, send an e-mail to zzMSHA-asmsha@dol.gov, or phone the National Mine Health and Safety Academy at (304) 256-3100.