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MSHA News Release: [04/06/2006]
Contact: Dirk Fillpot          Amy Louviere
Phone:    (202) 693-9406   (202) 693-9423
Release Number 06-562-NAT


MSHA Issues Warning to Kids to "Stay Out-Stay Alive"
Dozens Injured and Killed Each Year in Recreational Accidents


ARLINGTON, Va. - For the eighth consecutive year, the U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has launched its annual "Stay Out-Stay Alive" public safety campaign to warn outdoor enthusiasts about the dangers of playing on mine property. Since 1999, nearly 200 people have been killed in recreational accidents at surface and underground active and abandoned operations around the country.

"There are tens of thousands of abandoned mines and quarries scattered across the American landscape, and some are more visible than others." said David G. Dye, acting administrator for mine safety and health. "These sites can be an irresistible attraction to those who like to hike, camp, swim and four-wheel, but they can also be deadly. That's why we urge recreationalists of all ages to heed the safety slogan, 'Stay Out-Stay Alive.'"

During the month-long campaign, which runs March 15 through April 15, federal mine safety and health professionals will visit schools, scouting groups and other venues to talk to young people about the dangers of playing on mine property. "Education can be an effective tool in building public awareness and broadcasting our safety message to kids and, in turn, to their parents," said Dye.

Underground abandoned mines pose a number of hazards to the casual explorer, including hidden shafts that drop hundreds of feet down, covered by decayed and rotten boards that can give way under the slightest weight. Tunnels are prone to cave-ins and may contain deadly gases, flooded sections and poisonous snakes and insects. Unused or misfired explosives, including blasting caps, can become highly unstable and be set off by the slightest disturbance or touch.

Water-filled quarries may look innocuous but contain hidden dangers as well. In addition to slippery slopes and unstable rock ledges, the water may conceal old machinery and sharp objects left behind after a mining operation closes. Even expert swimmers may encounter trouble in the dangerously cold and deceptively deep waters. Old surface mines, often a popular spot for ATV enthusiasts, contain hills of loose materials in stockpiles or refuse heaps that can easily collapse and cause deadly rollovers.

More than 80 federal and state agencies, private organizations, businesses and individuals are active partners in "Stay Out-Stay Alive." For further information, visit www.msha.gov.

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