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MSHA News Release: [02/01/2006]
Contact: Dirk Fillpot
Phone Number: (202) 693-9406
Release Number: 06-210-NAT


MSHA to Expand West Virginia "Stand Down for Safety" Nationwide on Feb. 6

WASHINGTON - Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health David G. Dye is asking coal mines across the country to conduct a time-out, or "Stand Down for Safety," Monday, Feb. 6 in the wake of a recent upsurge in mine accidents.

Dye also announced that, in addition to this national safety "stand down," MSHA is deploying additional mine safety inspectors to West Virginia to respond to the unusually high number of mine fatalities in the state this year.

"I am asking miners and management at every mine operation to do the right thing - to take one hour out for safety's sake this Monday and 'Stand Down for Safety,' to be proactive in preventing future accidents and saving lives," Dye said. "This Monday, we urge that extra time be taken at the beginning of each shift and before the start of any mining activity to go over the hazards involved with mining and the vital safeguards that need to be taken."

Dye said he was concerned about the recent upsurge in fatal accidents in West Virginia after the nation witnessed the safest year on record in 2005.

"Our hearts grieve for the families of the miners who have lost their lives," Dye said. "We will provide all the help we can and will conduct a thorough investigation of each accident to find out what went wrong. At the same time, we're asking each person in the whole mining community to stop, focus on safety and ask what they can do every day to prevent future tragedies."

MSHA will immediately send out packets of safety information to stakeholders for discussion at coal mines as well as posting information on the "Stand Down for Safety" page on MSHA's Web site at www.msha.gov. Information on each mining fatality is also available on the MSHA Web site under "Fatality Information."

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