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DOL/MSHA News Release
Mine Safety and Health Administration
Contact: Rodney Brown
Phone: (202) 693-9400

Released Thursday, August 19, 2004

Safe Miners Now Recognized as "Professional Miners"

BECKLEY, W.Va. - Two miners from West Virginia are among the first 10 miners to be named "Professional Miners" in recognition of their extended time working in a mine without experiencing an injury on the job, as designated by the Joseph A. Holmes Safety Association and the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

"Professional miners will usher in a new era of miner health and safety," said Dave D. Lauriski, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "The Professional Miner Recognition is a groundbreaking initiative that will recognize the truly exceptional accomplishments of safety-conscious miners and help other miners recognize that they, too, can achieve the same standard by instilling safety and health as values in their lives."

"This national recognition for miners across the country could have an historic impact on mine safety and health in the United States," said Doug Conaway, current president of the Joseph A. Holmes Safety Association. "We are honored and privileged to recognize the special miners here this morning, and we are hopeful that many more miners will see the benefits of becoming a role model for workplace safety and health. Miners like these are part of the foundation of our industry."

Michael Carpenter, a shuttle car operator at the Elk Run Coal Co., and James Patsey, a fire boss at Pin Oak Resources, are the first named as "professional miners" from the state of West Virginia.

Under the new program, miners who have worked consecutive years in the industry without experiencing an injury can apply for the Professional Miner Recognition. Miners who have worked at any mine for three consecutive years with no lost-time injuries qualify for the silver level status; three consecutive years with no lost-time and no reportable injuries qualifies for the gold level; and five consecutive years with no reportable injuries earns the platinum level.

Miners who meet the non-injury requirement will take a pledge of workplace safety and will be recognized as professional miners. The miner will receive a certificate, a pocket identification card and the professional miner logo in both a hardhat sticker form and as a cloth patch for affixing to clothing, all serving to identify the miner appropriately as a Professional Miner.

In addition, professional miners will receive important safety and health information periodically on mining hazards, safety tips, and other safety-related information to assist in promoting a safer and more healthful work environment.

Further information concerning this program can be found at www.holmessafety.org.