10.01.07

ENZI ASKS FOR REVIEW OF ADVANCES IN MINE SAFETY TECHNOLOGY

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ranking Member ofthe Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today askedNational Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) officials to provide areview of advances in deep mine two-way communications and breathing technologiesthat could be used to help locate trapped miners and keep them alive until rescued. “The tragedy at the Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah highlighted the importance ofbetter underground mine communication and tracking technology,” Enzi said. “Therescue efforts at Crandall Canyon would certainly have been helped had it been possibleto know the last location of the lost miners, and to communicate with them through 1,800feet of hard rock. When an accident occurs, rescuers need to be able to find andcommunicate with lost miners – their lives depend on it.” “Improving devices to ensure that miners have adequate breathable air is just ascrucial. NIOSH must play a pivotal role in developing new breathable air technologiesand making them accessible, so that miners are not overly-reliant on old technologies thatare often misused.” In a letter released today, Enzi asked Dr. John Howard, Director of NIOSH andDr. Jeffrey Kohler, Associate Director for Mine Safety and Health Research at NIOSH toreview the research and advances in deep mine communications and breathable airtechnology, and to provide him a briefing on the progress in those areas since theenactment of the MINER Act (Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act)last year. Enzi’s request came as the HELP Committee prepares to hold a hearing tomorrowon the Crandall Canyon Mine disaster, which occurred in Utah in August.Under Senator Enzi’s Chairmanship, the HELP Committee wrote and passed theMINER Act, which created a permanent Office of Mine Safety and Health within NIOSHand made numerous other changes intended to enhance the development, approval andavailability of new and improved mine safety technology and equipment. It alsoauthorized grants and contracts to appropriate entities to develop and test newtechnologies, safety devices, and equipment.

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