MSHA Hosts International Mine Rescue Conference

MSHA is hosting the 3rd International Mine Rescue Conference and National Mine Rescue Contest on Aug. 29 through Sept. 1 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tenn. U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao is scheduled to deliver opening remarks.

The conference will coincide with MSHA's biennial National Coal Mine Rescue, First Aid, Pre-shift, and Bench Competition, which will begin Aug. 27 and wrap up with an awards banquet Aug. 30. Mine rescue contests are mock mine emergencies in which rescue teams battle simulated fires, floods, or roof falls to rescue their trapped colleagues underground.

"This conference is a unique opportunity for the American mining community to exchange critical information on mine rescue techniques and practices with experts from around the world," said Richard E. Stickler, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. "I strongly encourage everyone in the mining industry who cares about effective mine rescue to attend this important event."

The first International Mine Rescue Conference was held in South Africa in October 2003 and the second in Sydney, Australia, two years later. More than 100 delegates attended the latter meeting, representing Australia, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, India, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, and Romania, among other countries.

In May 2001, international mine rescue representatives held a meeting in Bytom, Poland, and agreed to appoint an International Mine Rescue Body. The body's primary objective is to promote international mine rescue operations and cooperation. The group also agreed that each participating country would designate a coordinator to attend international meetings held every two years in a different nation.

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