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DOL Press Release - 05-1745-ATL
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Suzy Bohnert    Dirk Fillpot
Phone: (202) 693-9420    (202) 693-4676


Released Tuesday, September 20, 2005

National Mine Rescue Contest in Louisville, Ky., from Sept. 20-23

LOUISVILLE, Ky .- The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is sponsoring the 2005 National Mine Rescue, First Aid, Bench and Pre-Shift Contest in Louisville, Ky., from Sept. 20-23 at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center. Mine rescue teams may be tapped to battle mine fires, contain underground floods and rescue their colleagues trapped beneath layers of rock or disoriented by toxic gas.

"These contests test the skills of mine rescue teams in a simulated mine emergency environment," said David G. Dye, acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "Naturally, we hope those skills will never be needed, but their fellow miners can feel confident knowing that, even in competition, mine rescue team members hold themselves to the highest standards." Nearly 50 coal mine rescue teams nationwide will compete to solve a hypothetical mine emergency problem, such as a fire, explosion or cave-in. Judges rate the teams on their adherence to mine rescue procedures and how quickly they complete specific tasks.

Other contest events include a benchman contest, where those individuals who maintain rescue equipment must thoroughly inspect breathing devices that have been tampered with and correct defects quickly. In the first-aid contest, participants must demonstrate the correct method of caring for an injured miner. In the pre-shift competition, a miner examines the mine layout area before their work shift to identify and eliminate existing hazards.

Mine rescue training began in the United States in 1910, the first year of the U.S. Bureau of Mines. Joseph A. Holmes, the bureau's first director, sought a training tool that would provide the mining industry with a cadre of mine rescue specialists prepared to respond to mine disasters. The training efforts evolved into local and regional competitions and, a year later, a national contest.

Schedule of Events MSHA's primary mission as a federal agency is to ensure worker safety and health in the nation's mines. Contest rules, a schedule, results and photos can be viewed on the Internet at www.msha.gov.