Miners get safety training at Portal 31

LYNCH Ky. (WYMT) - One tourist site in Harlan County is also being used to train coal miners.

Officials with the Kentucky Coal Academy are using Portal 31 in the Lynch community to give mine supervisors hands-on training.

For several decades, miners went underground in Lynch at Portal 31 and mined tons of coal. Mining shut down there in the 1960s. The mine is now a tourist attraction, and it is educating a new generation of coal miners.

"We want our training to be as realistic as it possibly can," said Murrel Dixon, Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College's KCA Director.

The Kentucky Coal Academy is training mine supervisors in Portal 31.

"The coal miners kept saying 'same ole stuff we seen last year and the year before,' so we tried to come up with something new and interesting," said Dixon.

Mine foremen with Black Mountain Resources are training in Portal 31 on how to conduct pre-shift exams, and look for loose roofs, bad ventilation, and electrical problems.

Directors say the hands-on training will help the mine foremen on the job.

"The dangers they're exposed to, other people that are older can take them inside, show the younger guys the opportunities they can look for, the dangers and actually see what they look like in real life situations," said Gary Whisman, Executive Director of the Kentucky Coal Academy.

Directors say so far the training is successful.

"They're paying more attention because it is something new. It's not the same old stuff they've done for a number of years," said Dixon.

"You can show them on a picture a thousand times, but put their hands on it in here is worth its weight in gold," said Whisman.

The next training session at Portal 31 is scheduled for later this month.


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