With the latest fatalities occurring in a coal mine in McDowell County, West Virginia, residents and families are wondering what training and education is provided to the miners and personnel that would prevent the deaths of those who are working. The coal mines were once very dangerous and considered a high risk career. In a five year period in the early 1900’s, over 13,000 miners died. The Health and Safety Regulations were established and updated in 1977. In this act, it required that the mines were to be inspected two times per year for surface mines and four times per year for underground mines. If violations were found, the company would be fined monetary fines and criminal penalties were given for willful violations. This act also provided compensation for the miners who were injured on the job or disabled during their career.
Today, miners must take a mandatory course in health and safety in order to continue their careers in this profession. Where does this training take place and how do they get the proper training? At the seventh permanent Federal Academy which is located in Beckley West Virginia. Mine Safety and Heath Inspectors and Technical support personnel of the Mine Safety Health Administration are sent here from all over the United States and from other countries to receive training here. The other six permanent Federal Academies are the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Maritime, Navy and FBI.
This academy is located on eighty acres. It contains nine buildings, each offering training and education that is needed to keep the mines safe. The nine buildings contain the Residence Hall, Administration, Classrooms, Mine Machinery Laboratory, Publication Distribution, Gymnasium, Maintenance and Equipment, Mine emergency operations, Mine Rescue Station and Mine Simulation laboratory.
The mine simulation laboratory provides hands on training for all students in this particular field. The room is set up to look like a room in an underground mine, which has pillars, four exits and nine cross cuts. This high tech up to date training can offer miners and all personnel the knowledge to handle any situation that they may face. This laboratory offers a burn room which fills the room up with smoke from a controlled fire in the room. This training teaches the students different ways to escape. They are working in Metallic and Nonmetallic mines. The air volume is controlled by a huge fan that controls both simulation mines.
For more details on the academy or more information,