RAPID CITY, SD – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that $985,284 in grants has been awarded to 10 education and training programs across the country to support mining safety through the Grants Program for Brookwood-Sago mine safety.
Two South Dakota colleges were selected for the grant:
- The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City received $120,000 to develop virtual reality training, interactive training materials, and the training program for new miners focused on preventing hazardous conditions in the mines.
- Western Dakota Technical College, also in Rapid City, received $109,945 for training focused on power transmission and mobile equipment safety, as well as mine emergency prevention and preparedness.
The grant program was established in 2006 in honor of 25 miners who died in mining disasters at Brookwood, Alabama and the Sago Mine in West Virginia.
“The Mine Safety and Health Administration exists to protect the safety and health of the country’s miners,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson. “The Brookwood and Sago mine tragedies are stark reminders of the risks miners face on the job. The grants we make today will support the critically important training and education that people working in our mines need and deserve.
The other 8 awards included:
- The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa received $158,962 to develop training materials for a three-hour, instructor-led course to educate new, inexperienced surface mine operators about workplace hazards.
- The Arizona Board of Trustees at the University of Arizona in Tucson received $157,936 for comprehensive training, assessment, and compliance reporting tools as part of its “SMARTer Training: A Data-Driven, Collaborative Toolkit to Improve Training and Reporting Outcomes for Contractors and Small Mine Operators”.
- Hutchinson Community College in Kansas received $100,300 for hazard recognition training materials including virtual reality simulation and traditional equipment to train miners in Kansas and Nebraska.
- Southeast Community and Technical College in Cumberland, Ky., received $82,438 to develop, market, supply and evaluate Parts 46 and 48 of the Coal and Non-Metallic Powered Haulage and Mobile Equipment Safety Training.
- United Mine Workers of America Career Centers Inc. in Prosperity, Pennsylvania, received $55,046 to develop a bilingual “Miners’ Statutory Rights Awareness” training program to supplement existing training on miners’ statutory rights that can be used to educate new miners or enhance experienced miners’ understanding of their legal rights under U.S. laws and regulations and the appropriate response(s) if they encounter unsafe or unhealthy work conditions.
- The University of Texas at Arlington received $50,000 for training materials focused on identifying fall hazards and best practices for reducing workplace injuries and deaths of miners; and develop fall prevention training for minors.
- Virginia Department of Energy at Big Stone Gap received $50,000 to enhance virtual reality training to simulate conditions at mine sites to help identify, avoid and prevent unsafe working conditions and avoid unsafe acts, in and around mines that could cause accidents in the workplace.
- West Virginia Research Corp. in Morgantown received $100,657 to provide emergency prevention and preparedness training to coal miners and coal mine operators through mine rescue training and powder fire training chemical to respond to emergencies involving fire in underground coal mines.
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