The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration announced in a press release that it will hold public meetings in Arlington, Va., Sacramento, Calif., and Pittsburgh, Pa., to gather information about effective, comprehensive safety and health management programs at mines. The agency will use information gathered from these meetings to help develop a proposed rule for safety and health management programs for mines, which will enable miners and mine operators to be more proactive in their approach to health and safety matters.

The meetings will include presentations on model programs by representatives from academia, safety and health professionals, industry and worker organizations, and government agencies. Model programs should be designed to prevent injuries and illnesses, as well as maintain compliance with the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, safety and health standards, and other regulations. MSHA is particularly interested in information on programs that include the active involvement of workers, beginning during the development of the program and continuing through implementation and evaluation.

"Year after year, many mine operators successfully achieve low injury, illness and violation rates," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "We are interested in hearing about the safety and health management programs they have in place and how these might benefit other mines and miners.

"It is obvious there are some mines that need to change the culture of safety and health within their organizations," Main added. "Hopefully, hearing about successful management programs will encourage them to move in the right direction."

The dates, locations and contact information for the public meetings are listed below. All meetings will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude by 5 p.m. local time.

Oct. 8 -MSHA National Office, 1100 Wilson Blvd., 25th floor conference room, Arlington, Va. 22209

Oct. 12 -Embassy Suites Sacramento, Riverwalk Promenade, 100 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, Calif. 95814

Oct. 14 -Omni William Penn Hotel, 530 William Penn Place, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15219