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DOL News Release - 05-654-DEN
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Rich Kulczewski
Phone: (303) 844-1302


Released Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Federal Mine Safety Agency Urges Kids to "Stay Out-Stay Alive"
National Public Safety Campaign Kicks off Efforts in Denver


DENVER - The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) today kicked off its annual "Stay Out-Stay Alive" national public safety campaign to warn children about the dangers of exploring and playing on mine property. The campaign is in its seventh year.

"Active and abandoned mine sites can be an irresistible draw to outdoor enthusiasts, but they can also be deadly," said John Correll, deputy assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health during a presentation at Gust Elementary School in Denver. "We want kids to understand that mines and minors don't mix."

Since 1999, nearly 150 children and adults have died in recreational accidents at active and abandoned mine sites. Colorado has had a number of fatalities, including a 14-year-old girl who drowned at a gravel pit in Pueblo in June 2002. In July 2003, a 46-year-old man was injured in a fall down a 24-foot mine shaft near Mount Pisgah and later died.

Underground abandoned mines pose a number of hazards to the casual explorer, such as deep vertical shafts, horizontal openings supported by rotting timbers, unstable rock formations, and the presence of unused or misfired explosives. Water-filled quarries may conceal rock ledges and old machinery, and the water is often deceptively deep and dangerously cold. Old surface mines contain hills of loose materials in stockpiles or refuse heaps that can easily collapse and endanger others. As towns spread into the countryside, and more people visit remote locations, the possibility that members of the public will encounter active or abandoned mines increases every year.

During the "Stay Out-Stay Alive" campaign, MSHA safety and health specialists deliver safety talks and distribute educational materials in schools throughout the country to educate children about the importance of steering clear of mine sites.

Today, more than 80 federal and state agencies, private organizations, businesses and individuals are active partners in the campaign to make people aware of the approximately 14,000 active and nearly 500,000 abandoned mines in the United States. The Bureau of Land Management and National Crime Prevention Council's McGruff the Crime Dog were partners in the event at Gust Elementary School.

To view more information about the "Stay Out-Stay Alive" campaign on the Internet, go to www.msha.gov. Under the "Quick Links" heading, click on "Stay Out-Stay Alive."