Missouri upping safety ante

A MISSOURI state regulatory department said Tuesday it would take its efforts to increase safety at the state’s mines right to the source – the miners themselves.

Donna Schmidt

The state Department of Labor Standards has already begun miner consultations with its Mine Safety Program to increase awareness at its 450 mining operations, two of which are surface coal operations. A spokesperson for the agency said the mining accidents of early 2006 did have a hand in the decision.

“Even though Missouri does not have mining issues identical to West Virginia, we feel it’s imperative that we do everything in our power to ensure the safety of Missouri miners,” said director Allen Dillingham. “The intent ... is to get miners to work safer and smarter.”

The program’s instructors will conduct additional training regarding safety issues that will include ventilation and evacuation protocol. Inspectors will visit two mines each day for 10 days and examine the current environment. If the initial project is successful, additional consultations will be conducted at the balance of the state’s operations.

The Mine Safety Program, having trained more than 5700 individuals in 2005, is a fee-free initiative for mine owners, workers and contractors.

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