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DOL Press Release - 05-675-PHI
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Amy Louviere or Dirk Fillpot
Phone: (202) 693-9423 or (202) 693-4676


Released Friday, April 15, 2005

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


FLEETWOOD, Pa. - 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 Fleetwood Area Middle School. "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. Pennsylvania has had a number of fatalities, including an 18-year-old male who died while swimming in a Bensalem quarry last May. He had tried to swim across the quarry after jumping off a 40-foot cliff, but turned around and began treading water and screaming for help about 15 feet from the quarry bank. Friends were unable to rescue him.

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.

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."