MSHA uses flagrant violation provision for first timeThe U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)  announced that it has allocated $8,441,000 in health and safety training grants for fiscal year 2011.

Grantees will use the funds to provide federally mandated training to miners. The grants cover training and retraining of miners working at surface and underground coal, and metal and nonmetal, mines, including miners engaged in shell dredging or employed at surface stone, sand and gravel mining operations.

Funds have been awarded to 47 states and the Navajo Nation, which had to apply for the grants. They are administered by state mine inspectors' offices, state departments of labor, and state-supported colleges and universities. Each recipient tailors the program to the needs of its mines and miners, and also provides technical assistance.

The state grants program was authorized by the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969. States first received funding to provide health and safety training to miners in 1971.

"These grant awards continue a tradition of cooperation between MSHA and the states that can really contribute to the development of a strong safety culture in the mining community," said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "There are many different facets to creating a safe work environment, and training workers and supervisors is an important one."

Under the grants, in addition to health and safety training, some states offer training for mine operators specifically on compliance with health and safety standards, as well as training for miners on their rights under the law and for mine rescue teams on being prepared in the event of a mine emergency.