Main tries out a wireless comm system

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph Main recently visited three coal mines to catch up on the latest mining safety technology put in place by Consol Energy and Alpha Natural Resources.

Last Friday, Main traveled to Emerald Mine in western Pennsylvania for a demonstration of a new rock dust method called foam dusting currently in development by Strata Mine Services and DSI Underground Systems. Three days later, Main and members of his staff headed to northern West Virginia, where officials of Robinson Run No. 95 Mine showcased a wireless voice and text communication system that enables mine personnel at the surface to connect with workers hundreds of feet underground. The final leg of the tour occurred in Greene County, Pa., at the Bailey Mine. Along with Consol's Lou Barletta and Todd Moore, Main traveled underground to observe mine haulage equipment outfitted with a proximity detection system. Such systems provide audible and visual warnings and stop mobile machines before a pinning or crushing accident occurs.

"These kinds of trips are invaluable opportunities to understand how the mining industry is progressing and what we need to focus our attention on to improve miner safety and health," said Main.