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DOL Media Advisory - 05-2107-SAN
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Suzy Bohnert    Dirk Fillpot
Phone: (202) 693-9420    (202) 693-4676


Released Wednesday, November 2, 2005

MSHA Speaker Talks About Building Safe Workplaces

RENO, Nev.- A top official with the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) today said that maintaining a safe workplace requires communicating effectively about safety and attending to safety and health hazards in mines.

"By working together and sharing our knowledge, experience and expertise, we find the solutions to the common problems that we face in the mining industry," Robert Friend, acting deputy assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health, said. Friend made the remarks to mine safety professionals at the Joint Western Regional Safety Conference and Exhibition in Reno, Nev.

Friend talked about MSHA's "Make-the-Right-Decision" campaign, a safety and health initiative that helps miners and mine operators focus on human factors, such as decision-making, when at work. The campaign encourages miners and mine management to work together on safety and health issues.

Through "Make the Right Decision," miners and mine management are receiving tools to help them recognize hazards and take appropriate action to correct or avoid risks. As part of the educational initiative, MSHA officials continue to conduct safety talks with miners and mine operators at mine sites nationwide and distribute posters, stickers and fliers with campaign messages.

Agency representatives have incorporated two programs in the "Make-the-Right-Decision" campaign. The first program is SLAM, an acronym for stop, look, analyze and manage. The second is SMART, an acronym for stop, measure, act, review and train. Together, these programs address the spectrum of safety decisions made in the workplace, from risk assessment to risk management, at the miner and mine operator level.

Friend also discussed a recent advance notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Federal Register on substance abuse that seeks to gather information about the scope of drug and alcohol use in the mining workplace and suggestions on how to deal with the problem.

A joint MSHA and mining industry venture, the conference began Nov. 1 and concludes Nov. 4. Sponsoring agencies also included mining industry agencies and representatives from government and education.

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