Mine safety foundation starts up

Mining safety just got an additional boost from Alpha Natural Resources which started up the Alpha Foundation for the Improvement of Mine Safety and Health.


ISS SourceMining safety just got an additional boost from Alpha Natural Resources which started up the Alpha Foundation for the Improvement of Mine Safety and Health.

The non-profit organization will seek to improve mine health and safety by funding academic and nonprofit research projects. Alpha contributed $48 million to the foundation.

“The safety of our employees is the highest value of our company, and mine safety and health is imperative to the success of our industry,” said Alpha Chief Executive Kevin Crutchfield. “We are proud to establish and fund the Alpha Foundation and also appoint three leading experts to advance its objectives. This presents a tremendous opportunity to drive the latest developments and innovation in mine safety and health to the benefit of miners around the world.”

The foundation is part of Alpha Natural Resources’ non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Southern West Virginia from Dec. 6. The agreement followed the Upper Big Branch explosion in Raleigh County, WV, where 29 coal miners died.

The settlement totaled $209 million, of which $80 million was to go to directly improve mine safety at all Alpha underground mines.

The agreement included settlements for the miners’ families and does not prevent the prosecution of individuals within Massey Energy, the company that owned the mine at the time of the explosion. Alpha acquired Massey months after the explosion.

The foundation appointed three directors to administer the foundation: Dr. Keith A. Heasley of West Virginia University’s College of Engineering and Mineral Resources; Dr. David H. Wegman, emeritus professor of work environment at the University of Massachusetts Lowell; and Dr. Michael E. Karmis, professor and director of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virginia Tech.

The foundation is to operate independently of the U.S. Attorney’s office or Alpha Natural Resources.

“The research and development component of our agreement with Alpha holds the promise of breakthroughs that will transform mine safety in the coming decades,” said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. “The Foundation will jumpstart innovation and put brilliant minds to work on the risks that coal miners face. We look forward to a future in which coal mining is as safe as any other occupation.”

No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Salary survey: How much are you worth?; Dedicated outdoor air systems; Energy models and lighting
Fire, life safety in schools; Fire protection codes; Detection, suppression, and notification; 2015 Commissioning Giants; Emergency and standby power in hospitals
HVAC and building envelope: Efficient, effective systems; Designing fire sprinkler systems; Wireless controls in buildings; 2015 Product of the Year winners
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Implementing microgrids: Controlling campus power generation; Understanding cogeneration systems; Evaluating UPS system efficiency; Driving data center PUE, efficiency
Optimizing genset sizing; How the Internet of Things affects the data center; Increasing transformer efficiency; Standby vs. emergency power in mission critical facilities
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.