“The UMWACC and MSHA have continued a close working relationship through various contracts and cooperative agreements established in September 2008 and 2009,” US secretary of labor Hilda Solis said.
“The partnership has developed successful training programs and competitions for mine rescue teams and first responders.”
The grant money will be used to develop classroom and simulated rescue training programs for mine rescue teams.
The Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 called for enhancing mine rescue crews and the development of current response plans after a string of mine accidents including International Coal Group’s Sago explosion and Massey Energy’s Aracoma Alma belt fire.
Under the cooperative agreement between MSHA and the UMWACC, training will be conducted in the classroom and in a simulated environment as well as at mine sites with mine staff.
While distance learning was not excluded, the primary focus is on hands-on training in a real or simulated environment, federal officials said.
Training likely will be conducted at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Pittsburgh Research Laboratory in Bruceton, Pennsylvania as well as the National Mine Health and Safety Academy Mine Simulation Laboratory in Beaver, West Virginia and the Mining Technology and Training Center in Ruff Creek, Pennsylvania.
UMWA Career Centers is headquartered in Washington, Pennsylvania, with field offices in Washington as well as Beckley, West Virginia.