17 September 2010
Funds Will go to Bluefield State College and United Mine Workers of America Career Centers, Inc. for Safety Programs
CHARLESTON, WV — Senators Jay Rockefeller and Carte Goodwin (both D-W.Va.), along with Congressman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), today applauded the announcement of $154,000 in funding from the Brookwood-Sago grants program to provide education and training within the mining industry.
“The safety of our West Virginia miners must continue to be monitored and improved – and this funding will go toward state-of-the-art programs that will help keep our miners protected,” said Senator Rockefeller. “One of the best ways we can honor our dedicated miners and their dangerous work is to continue funding programs like these to prevent mine accidents and disasters in the future.”
“Education and training opportunities like these provide our miners with the skills and the knowledge they need to prevent disasters and to make the conditions they work in safer,” said Senator Goodwin. “I am proud to support this announcement, as well as any additional efforts designed to support our coal miners, their families, and our communities.”
“I helped to create this important program to fund training programs that improve safety for our coal miners,” said Rahall. “The UMWA Career Centers have an outstanding record of providing mine safety training to help ensure the well-being of all miners and they are certainly deserving of these funds. Having strong mine safety and health laws on the books has proven critical to saving lives and I will continue to fight to ensure that the Congress does all that it can to keep our miners safe and on the job.”
Grant recipients include:
Bluefield State College (BSC) will receive $61,000 in federal grant funds under the Brookwood-Sago grant program to improve conveyor belt safety training through collaborative web-based tools. This work would create more effective training, improve safety, and enable continual improvement of conveyor belt safety courses.
United Mine Workers of America Career Centers, Inc. will receive $93,000 in federal grant funds under the Brookwood-Sago grant program to develop an interactive computer program to train and prepare miners on escape procedures in underground coal mines. The training program would require teams to apply critical thinking in their virtual escape from a mine emergency, with teams advancing to the next level of the program based on their responses to each problem.
The Brookwood-Sago training grants are awarded for a 12-month project performance period, and applicants must be states or nonprofit entities. The grants were named in remembrance of the 13 men who died in two explosions at the Jim Walter Resources #5 mine in Brookwood, Ala. in 2001 and 12 men who died in an explosion at the Sago Mine in Buckhannon, W.Va., in 2006.
The grant program was established through a provision in the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act of 2006. The focus of FY 2010’s funded grants will be on training and training materials for mine emergency preparedness and mine emergency prevention for all underground mines.
Rockefeller and Rahall worked to pass the MINER Act in 2006. This year, Rockefeller and Goodwin introduced the Robert C. Byrd Mine and Workplace Safety and Health Act of 2010 in the Senate in response to the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. Rahall is a cosponsor of the House version of this bill.
Further information on the Brookwood-Sago Mine Safety Training Grant Program is available on MSHA’s Web site at http://www.msha.gov.