Competition at Southeast focuses on mine safety

Published 12:30 pm Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The ninth annual Harlan County Safety Days Mine Rescue Competition was held July 23-25 at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College’s Cumberland campus. Although competition is in the title, it’s more about these highly trained teams honing their skills and being prepared if the need arises. It’s continuing education with a competition style format. One team member said “we’re actually not competing against other teams, we’re competing against the problem on the field” that they are given.

The event was coordinated by Cumberland Tourism. Thirteen teams from four states (Illinois, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia) spent the three days participating in mine rescue, first-aid, pre-shift and bench competitions. Teams included: Arch Coal Mountain Laurel Complex, Blackhawk Mining LLC – Kentucky Team, Blackjewel LLC – Blue Team, Contura Energy – Paramont Contura, Ferroglobe/Alden Resources – Alden Resources Team, JRL Coal – Harlan County Team, Peabody Gateway North, Peabody Midwest Wildcat Hills, Perry County Coal – Blue Team, Rockhampton Energy LLC, State of Kentucky – Orange Team, State of Kentucky – Red Team, and Wellmore Coal Company Red Team.

“This is an educational experience where miners receive hands on life saving training in case, they are called upon to rescue their fellow miner in the event of an accident,” said Tracy Bailey, Cumberland Tourism Commission’s executive director., “Our tourist commission is proud to be a part of this training and also to be a part of the economic impact this event has on our county.”

To wrap up the event, an awards ceremony was held. During that ceremony, Freddie Dixon, of the Kentucky Division of Mine Safety, was recognized for his 40 plus years of involvement with mine safety and mine rescue.

First-place award winners included: overall and day one mine rescue won by Peabody Midwest Wildcat Hills Team – Josh Stacy, captain. The day two mine rescue first place award went to Contura Energy Paramont Contura Team – Adam Phillips, captain. The first aid competition along with the mine rescue/first aid combination was won by Ferroglobe/Alden Resources. Pre-shift examination award was won by Brian Keith with Paramont Contura. Bench competition award winners were: Drager BG4 – Robby Middleton, Parmont Contura Team and BioPak 240R – Craig Hawkins, Peabody Gateway North Team.

The Harlan County Safety Days Mine Rescue Committee and Cumberland Tourism Commission thanked the Kentucky Division of Mine Safety, Mine Safety and Health Administration, Virginia Department of Mine, Minerals and Energy, and West Virginia Mine Health, Safety and Training for providing judges and support for the event. They also thanked Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College for providing facilities and support.

Many thanks go to our sponsors and partners, which include Harlan County Fiscal Court, JRL Coal, Harlan County Tourism, Workforce Solutions, Roddy Trucking, Harlan Tourism, Appalachian Wireless and Drager Safety,” said Bailey.