Dugout hosts full-day safety drill

A COLLECTION of more than 150 miners, federal and state industry officials, emergency responders and law enforcement were all on hand Friday for a full-day mock safety drill at Arch Coal’s Dugout Canyon operation in Utah.

Donna Schmidt

Arch said the exercise, which also included representatives of the US Mine Safety and Health Administration, focused on the Dugout operation and included employees from across its mines performing various duties in the event.

Also, 10 mine rescue teams participated in the day; nine were part of Arch’s national mine network while one local state-run team was also on hand.

New technology was also a focus of the drill, Arch officials said. Both MSHA and the state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Mining were onsite at Dugout and a mine rescue robot was tried out during exercises.

“Honing our rescue and teamwork skills in a mock emergency will help prepare us for any situation," said Arch Western Bituminous Group president Gene DiClaudio.

“We wanted to make this rescue drill as realistic as possible, including an all-hands-on-deck approach with full involvement of national, state and local enforcement officials.

“The scenario is scripted with plenty of challenges and twists that reinforce essential skills and is resolved in one very long day."

According to the producer, Dugout mine owner Canyon Fuel is Utah’s largest coal producer, boasting about 800 employees.