U.S. Department of Labor Leadership Visits Missouri Doe Run Brushy Creek Mining Comp


Jefferson City, MO (CompNewsNetwork) - In October, the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics released data that reported fewer nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in Missouri private industry in 2007. This is good news for the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR) whose goal is to ensure safer and healthier workplaces.

The DOLIR's Division of Labor Standards administers Missouri's Mine and Cave Safety and Health Program, which trains miners in implementing safe and healthy working habits at the workplace. This training is provided free of charge. The program also offers safety and health consultation services, conducts mine and cave safety inspections, and assists with mine openings and closings. For example, before the state's public show caves open for business for the year, the Department's staff inspects the caves for safety. Once a cave has been certified safe, a certificate of inspection is issued for posting.

Oversight of mine and cave safety in Missouri is a huge responsibility for the Department. This is due not only to the high-risk nature of the job, but also because of its popularity. Mining is big business in Missouri. According to the Mining Industry Council of Missouri, the economic impact of mining in the Show-Me State is $8.46 billion annually. To further emphasize the impact of mining in Missouri, the state often is referred to as “The Cave State” due to the more than 5,600 known caves that sprinkle its landscape, including 20 show caves, which are open to the public for guided tours.

As a Department dedicated to ensuring mine and cave safety in Missouri, DOLIR Director Todd Smith and DOLIR Deputy Director Rod Burnett were excited to visit Doe Run Brushy Creek Mine and Mill upon learning about the facility's exceptional safety records and practices. Not only is Doe Run lauded as one of the safest mines in the state, it is recognized as one of the safest mining facilities in the nation.

Last May, the Doe Run Company was notified by the National Mining Association that its Buick Mine and Mill facility had won the 2007 Sentinels of Safety Award. Issued by the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Mining Association, the award recognizes outstanding safety performance and is regarded as one of the most prestigious safety awards in the industry.

In early October, the company's Mine Rescue teams scored big during Missouri University of Science and Technology's mine rescue competitions held in Rolla, Mo.  Doe Run's Maroon Mine Rescue team won the field competitions against 11 other teams, earned the Best In-State Underground Team award, as well as taking first place in the First-Aid Contest and the BG-4 apparatus check and maintenance exercise. Most impressive of all is the fact that the company is the first team ever to win the Rolla competition three years in a row and with the same team members.

The guided tour which the Department of Labor's leadership embarked upon took them 1,000 feet underground at Doe Run's Brushy Creek Mine where they witnessed the day-to-day mining activities of an award-winning heavy metal mine, first hand.

“While there is much to be impressed about watching Missouri's miners work 1,000 feet underground, the most impressive is how every single member of the operation truly values and understands the importance of mine safety,” said DOLIR Director Todd Smith.

“After touring the site and catching an inside glimpse into the company's mining operations, I see why they're the best at what they do,” said DOLIR Deputy Director Rod Burnett. “It was evident that mine safety is an integral part of the organization.”

All miners at the facility know their safety practices impact more than themselves – it also impacts their families. The Sentinels of Safety Award trophy serves as a constant reminder to all miners why it is important for them to work safely. Standing nearly four feet tall, the striking trophy depicts a mother holding a young child – both awaiting the safe return home of the miner at the end of the work day.

The Department of Labor hopes the high level of safety achieved at the Doe Run Company will stimulate greater interest in workplace safety and encourage more companies, regardless of industry, to develop more effective accident-prevention programs not only in Missouri, but nationwide as well.

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