Indiana training impact

VINCENNES University has received a one-year grant of $US185,046 to further implement its program of federally mandated training, which could impact as many as 6500 miners and contractors next year.
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Courtesy Vincennes University

Donna Schmidt

The funds comprise the entirety of the US Mine Safety and Health Administration's mine safety and training grant to the state of Indiana; the agency announced more than $8.2 million to be awarded to states throughout the nation this week as part of plans for its 2008 fiscal year.

The university has an existing compliance training initiative as well as a mining technology degree program, and will further its federally required training and retraining of miners working in coal and metal/nonmetal in the state.

Among the training subjects the university tackles in its program are roof and ground control, ventilation, recognition of mine hazards, accident prevention, first aid and mine emergency operations, occupational health, and health and standards requirements.

“This grant allows VU to continue to provide an extensive series of services to the mining industry, helping to ensure the safety of all Hoosier miners," said university president Dick Helton.

“Safety is the highest concern of this training."

Added mining technology program director Ron Bucci: “We have approximately 300 mining operations in Indiana and our instructors travel to nearly every county to deliver high-quality instruction. We look forward to the coming year as we anticipate training nearly 5000 miners and 1500 contractors.”

The university said its program began statewide in October 2005 for the training and retraining of miners in coal and metal/nonmetal industries. It provides the first 40 hours of required training for new underground miners and 24 hours of required training for new surface workers through classroom instruction and onsite training.

Additionally, the yearly five-hour supervisor first aid refresher training, annual electrical recertification, welding and other refreshers are offered to students in the program.

In January, the university received $365,000 in federal funding through the 2008-09 Omnibus Appropriations measure approved by Congress in December 2007.

Last year, it was an honoured recipient of $50,000 from the US Department of Labor's Brookwood-Sago mine safety grant for establishment of a command centre for statewide mining emergencies.

“The expansion of mining operations in the state combined with the expected retirement of experienced miners means that there are great employment opportunities in mining," Helton said last month.

“This training will help ensure that [they] acquire the skills needed to be a more productive and safer workplace [and] is also an investment in Indiana energy."