The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), part of the US Department of Labor, has awarded grants worth $10.5m to safety initiatives across the US.
In total, the funding will cover 46 US states, the Navajo Nation, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The grants range from the $13,000 given to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam Department of Labor to the $647,460 given to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Mine Safety (BMS), which will be used to finance training programmes for miners. The schemes are aimed at workers in underground and surface mines, as well as those in coal and metal/non-metal operations.
“MSHA awarded grants based on applications from states, and they are administered by state mine inspectors’ offices, state departments of labour, and state-supported colleges and universities,” said the MSHA in a statement. “Each recipient tailors the program to the needs of its mines and miners – including mining conditions and hazards miners may encounter – and provides technical assistance.”
The BMS has released several training courses for employees this year, covering electrical work, industrial minerals operations, and administrative skills for workers at bituminous and anthracite mines. The group also works with universities, such as Pennsylvania State, and the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety to fund and run training programmes covering first aid, CPR skills, emergency responses and air pollution management.
The bureau also announced examinations for anthracite and industrial minerals qualifications on 26 October and 13 – 16 November later this year respectively.
Any state in which mining takes place can apply for a grant, and the MSHA will be able to fund up to 80% of the work done under a state grant programme. None of the four states not to apply for an MSHA grant – Delaware, Hawaii, Rhode Island and South Carolina – have particularly strong mining sectors, collectively producing 25.8m tonnes of crushed stone in 2009, less than a quarter of the 100m tonnes produced by Texas alone.