U.S. Department of Labor Awards $400,000 in Brookwood-Sago Grants For Mine Safety Education and Training

News Release Posted: [September 30, 2020]

ARLINGTON, VA – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has awarded $400,000 in funding through its Brookwood-Sago grant program to support education and training to help identify, avoid and prevent unsafe working conditions in and around the nation’s mines. 

Fiscal Year 2020 Brookwood-Sago grants focus on improving safety for the use of powered haulage equipment through improved training and training materials aimed at reducing vehicle-on-vehicle collisions, increasing seat belt use, and improving belt conveyor safety. The grants also focus on improving training for new and inexperienced miners, mine emergency prevention and preparedness, and other programs to prevent unsafe conditions in mines. Funding will enable grant recipients to develop training materials, provide mine safety training or educational programs, recruit mine operators and miners for the training, and conduct and evaluate the training. 

Established by the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act of 2006, the program promotes mine safety in honor of 25 miners who died in 2001 in Brookwood, Alabama, at the Jim Walter Resources #5 mine, and in 2006 in Buckhannon, West Virginia, at the Sago Mine.

The grant recipients are as follows:

  • The University of Arizona in Tucson received $100,000 to provide training to small mine operators and contractors involving powered haulage, electrical safety and belt conveyors; 
  • The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City received $100,000 to create virtual reality hazard awareness training involving belt conveyors end electrical equipment; 
  • United Mine Workers of America in Prosperity, Pennsylvania, received $50,000 to create an instructional training video on mine safety for contractors and new and inexperienced miners; 
  • The Colorado Department of Natural Resources in Denver received $50,000 to improve training materials for new and inexperienced miners involving powered haulage and contractor safety;
  • The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy in Big Stone Gap received $50,000 to create virtual reality training to help identify unsafe and hazardous conditions in a mine; and
  • West Virginia University Research Corp. in Morgantown received $50,000 to create training materials for mine emergency preparedness and prevention.

MSHA works to prevent death, illness and injury from mining and promote safe and healthful workplaces for U.S miners. MSHA carries out the provision of the Mine Act as amended by the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006. The agency develops and enforces safety and health rules for all U.S. mines regardless of size or number of employees. MSHA also provides technical, educational and other types of assistance to mine operators. MSHA works cooperatively with industry, labor and other federal and state agencies to improve safety and health conditions for all miners in the U.S.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

Agency: Mine Safety & Health Administration
Date: September 30, 2020
Release Number: 20-1614-NAT

Contact: Laura McGinnis
Phone Number:  202-693-4653
Email: mcginnis.laura.k@dol.gov

Contact: Grant Vaught
Phone Number: 202-693-4672
Email: vaught.grant.e@dol.gov