Students from four universities competed in a mine rescue contest at the Academy for Mine Training and Energy Technologies in Core, WV Saturday, April 2, 2016. Two teams competed for WVU.

WVU awarded MSHA grant to study mine emergency prevention

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University will train miners for mine emergency prevention and preparedness thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Joshua Brady, associate director of mining extension, and Eduardo Sosa, research associate professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering, were awarded more than $52,000 for one year to provide miners with hands-on, realistic training on how to handle an explosion or fire in a mine.

“Miners may be the at the front line of an emergency involving fire, so they should know how to react as first responders and provide the first attempt to extinguish it,” Sosa said. “They may be trapped between the fire and the emergency exits, and may also have limited visibility due to the presence of smoke, so knowing how to react under low visibility and where they go is essential to stay alive.”

Utilizing WVU’s Academy for Mine Training and Energy Technologies, training will focus on Self-Contained Self-Rescuer expectations training and mine rescue training.

“We anticipate that more than 600 individuals will benefit from the training we’ll be offering during the year-long period of performance,” Brady said. “We plan to recruit trainees from a mix of large and small coal mines currently operating in West Virginia and the Appalachian Region as well as from other states in the country, along with a contract group, which provides services to the industry.

“The completion of the training efforts should significantly contribute to increasing a miner’s emergency response skills for effectively responding to incidents involving fires in coal mines,” Brady said, “which ultimately will contribute to enhancing the mine emergency preparedness.”

WVU is one of only four institutions nationwide to receive the grants, which are a provision in the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006. Known as the Brookwood-Sago grant program, it was designed to promote mine safety while honoring the 25 miners who died in 2001 at the Jim Walter Resources No. 5 mine in Brookwood, Alabama, and the Sago Mine in Buckannon in 2006.

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