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DOL Press Release - 05-2070-DAL
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Suzy Bohnert    Dirk Fillpot
Phone: (202) 693-9420    (202) 693-4676


Released Wednesday, October 26, 2005

MSHA, Gypsum Association Officials Sign Alliance Agreement

THE WOODLANDS, Texas'The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) today announced an alliance with the Gypsum Association to foster safe and healthful aggregate operations nationwide. The top leaders from the two groups signed the agreement at the Gypsum Association's fall meeting in The Woodlands, Texas.

"This alliance agreement with the Gypsum Association enables us to partner with organizations to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses," said David G. Dye, acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "We have agreed to advance safety and healthful working conditions for workers by providing technical assistance, education and training, sharing information and promoting the national dialogue on mine safety and health."

The Gypsum Association is a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., that represents 10 manufacturers of gypsum board in the U.S. and Canada and provides technical information and assistance to the construction industry. Gypsum ore is a mineral found in sedimentary rock formations. Gypsum rock is mined or quarried and then crushed. The crushed rock is then ground into a fine powder and used as a base for gypsum plaster, gypsum board, and other gypsum products.

"Our industry has worked diligently to amass an excellent historical safety record for both in-plant operations and mining and quarrying facilities," said Michael A. Gardner, executive director/chief executive officer, Gypsum Association. "Our new partnership with MSHA will allow our association members to learn about new and different safety methods, and it will provide us with opportunities to exchange safety information with MSHA in an open and educational forum."

Under the agreement, MSHA and the Gypsum Association will work together to achieve the following technical assistance and education and training goals:

conduct evaluations of certain applied engineering topics to improve mine safety and health in gypsum mines and facilities; administer analyses to identify hazards affecting the health and safety of the alliance's miners; analyze historical data to evaluate the effectiveness of compliance and safety; perform mine safety and health case studies to determine areas for improved safety; use evaluations and case studies to set objectives and performance-based goals; and develop training and education programs to reduce and prevent mine hazards.

Both organizations will work to raise awareness about mine safety and health by expanding outreach efforts and communication through print and electronic media and industry conferences.

MSHA's primary mission is to ensure worker safety and health in the nation's mines. More information on the alliance can be viewed on the Internet at www.msha.gov.