this MSHA photo shows a mine rescue team

It's Almost Mine Rescue Season

The national contest starts Aug. 30 in Nashville, while the second annual surface mine rescue competition takes place Sept. 26 at a quarry in New Jersey.

West Virginia appears to have the largest number of mine rescue teams and team members represented in the 2009 National Mine Rescue, First Aid, Bench and Preshift Contest, which will take place Aug. 30-Sept. 3 in Nashville, Tenn. MSHA's online roster, which lists participants registered as of Aug. 12, lists 87 teams from 13 states: Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Massey Energy, Patriot Coal, and Jim Walter Resources are well represented among 33 teams that had registered for the first aid portion of the contest, while Peabody Energy, CONSOL Energy Inc., Patriot Coal, and Jim Walter Resources, among others, have multiple teams in the rescue competition. Visit www.msha.gov for more information.

Two CONSOL Energy mines in West Virginia already won Pacesetter Awards for Mine Safety earlier this year, and four of its mining operations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania received 2009 Joseph A. Holmes Safety Awards in May from the Joseph A. Holmes Safety Association, which was formed in 1916 and recognizes mine operations each year for safe performance.

Meanwhile, the 2nd Annual Surface Mine Rescue Competition will take place Sept. 26 at a quarry in Kingston, N.J., with trophies awarded in problem solving and first aid competitions. The Holmes Association, MSHA, the New Jersey Aggregate Safety Council, and the New Jersey Department of Labor are sponsoring the contest; contact Kevin Jones (phone 973-876-4541, fax 973-875-2924) or Ken Heintz (609-847-5188) for information about this contest, which will be only the second surface mine rescue competition to be held east of the Mississippi River, according to information on MSHA's Web site.

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