FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 7, 2008) - Kentucky's mine rescue teams will
continue to serve coal mines across the state in compliance with
recently adopted federal mine safety regulations.
Officials with the Department for Natural Resources met recently with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to discuss implementation of the Federal Miner Act of 2006. On Feb. 8, 2008, MSHA adopted regulations to implement mine rescue provisions of the act.
State mine rescue teams will serve as one of the two designated mine rescue teams for large mines, as well as serving small coal mines across Kentucky.
"We're pleased that we can continue to provide mine rescue services to underground mines statewide," said Robert Vance, secretary of the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet (EPPC). "If we had failed to meet the new training requirements, the burden for providing mine rescue teams would have fallen to mine owners. The costs would have been tremendous for small mine operations."
Among the new rules is a provision that allows state-sponsored mine rescue teams to substitute their regular job experience for 50 percent of the annual training requirements. Kentucky's mine rescue team members are mine safety inspectors, mine safety analysts and instructors who all have a minimum of five years mining experience and are certified as mine foremen.
MSHA officials said they are satisfied that EPPC's plan for conducting training sessions at individual mines meets the new regulations.
Through its Office of Mine Safety and Licensing, EPPC maintains 11 rescue teams and six rescue stations, all within one hour's drive of every mine they serve. Kentucky has 185 licensed underground mines, including 105 small mines.