Two South Dakota schools received $200,000 for mining safety programs


RAPID CITY, SD – Today the US Department of Labor announced $985,284 in grants to 10 education and training programs nationwide in support of mining safety as part of the Brookwood-Sago Mine Safety Grant Program.

Two colleges in South Dakota were selected for the scholarship:

  • The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City received $120,000 to develop virtual reality training, interactive training materials, and a new miner training program focused on preventing unsafe conditions in mines.
  • Western Dakota Technical College, also located in Rapid City, received $109,945 for training focused on power transmission and mobile equipment safety, and mine emergency prevention and preparedness.

The grant program was established in 2006 in honor of the 25 miners who died in mine disasters in Brookwood, Alabama and Sago Mine in West Virginia.

“The Mine Safety and Health Administration is in place to protect the safety and health of miners in the country,” said Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health Chris Williamson. “The tragedies at the Brookwood and Sago mines are a stark reminder of the risks miners face at work. Our grants today will support the critically important training and education our miners need and deserve.”

The other eight awards included:

  • The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa received $158,962 to develop three-hour, instructor-led training materials to raise workplace risk awareness among new, inexperienced surface mine operators.
  • The Arizona Board of Governors at the University of Arizona in Tucson has received $157,936 for comprehensive training, assessment and reporting tools for its “SMARTer Training: A Collaborative Data-Driven Toolkit to Improve Training and Reporting Outcomes for Contractors and Small-Mine Operators” project.
  • Hutchinson Community College in Kansas received $100,300 for hazard recognition training materials to include virtual reality simulations and traditional materials to train miners in Kansas and Nebraska.
  • Southeast Technical and Community College in Cumberland, Kentucky, received $82,438 to develop, market, deliver, and evaluate parts 46 and 48 of coal and non-metallic minerals and mobile equipment safety training.
  • United Mine Workers of America Career Centers Inc. In Prosperity, Pennsylvania, $55,046 to develop a bilingual “Mineers Legal Awareness” training program to complement legal rights training for existing miners that can either be used to inform new miners or enhance their understanding. Experienced miners have their legal rights under US laws and regulations and respond appropriately if they encounter unsafe or unhealthy working conditions.
  • The University of Texas at Arlington received $50,000 for training materials focused on identifying fall risks and best practices in reducing workplace injuries and fatalities for minors; and to develop fall prevention training for miners.
  • The Virginia Department of Energy at Big Stone Gap has received $50,000 to enhance virtual reality training to simulate conditions at mine sites to help identify, avoid and prevent unsafe working conditions and avoid unsafe work, in and around mines with the potential to cause workplace accidents.
  • West Virginia Research Corp. in Morgantown received $100,657, to provide emergency preparedness and prevention training for coal miners and coal mine operators in Mine Rescue Training and Dry Chemical Fire Training for Emergency Response involving fires in underground coal mines .


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