The National Mine Health and Safety Academy opened August 17, 1976. The academy, located on an 80-acre campus at Beaver, near Beckley, is the world’s largest educational institution devoted solely to safety and health in mining. The modern academy complex includes classrooms and laboratories accommodating 600 students, dormitory space for 320 people, as well as a cafeteria, library, auditorium, and recreation facilities. It is the central training facility for federal mine inspectors and mine safety professionals from various government agencies, the mining industry, labor organizations, and the international mining community. Its mission is to reduce accidents and to improve the health and safety of miners through education and training. The academy serves not only coal mines but also mines producing sand and gravel, gold, silver, copper, uranium, and other minerals.
Academy personnel, working with other mining professionals, design and develop instructional programs and training materials. These programs and materials cover topics such as mine safety and inspection procedures, accident prevention and investigation, industrial hygiene, emergency procedures, mining technology, and non-technical subjects. The academy is operated by the Mine Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor. About 28,000 students attend annually, an average of 200 to 300 daily. The training courses usually last three days, but some are as long as eight days. Recently the academy library consolidated Department of Labor mine library collections from throughout the country at the Beckley facility.
The academy’s services are not limited to the United States. In response to growing international concern about mine health and safety, the academy has expanded its efforts to improve the health and safety of miners worldwide. Cooperative programs give representatives and inspectors from other nations’ mining industries the opportunity to participate in academy health and safety classes, training programs, and activities. International visitors to the National Mine Health and Safety Academy have included delegations from Russia, Ukraine, Poland, China, Thailand, South Africa, and other countries.
This Article was written by Melody Bragg
Last Revised on August 17, 2012