James Dean, former director of mining and industrial extension at West Virginia University, has been selected to serve the West Virginia Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety, a group dedicated to protecting miners, until the end of the year by preparing organized information for the combination, repeal or changes of rules to protect miners.
“I am assisting the board with probably the most extensive review of mine safety rules in 30 plus years by preparing organized information for their consideration and leading the discussion,” Dean said.
Dean and the board will be working on reviewing 62 rules, or combination of rules, while also creating a well-documented “next steps” plan for any remaining items in review. He previously worked with the board in 2006 after the Sago and Aracoma mine disasters as the acting director of the Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training.
In June 2019, Dean began working with the board under contract through the WVU Research Corporation, fulfilling tasks normally performed by the board administrator.
“I believe this type of work is important for the University and our department to serve the state in a positive way,” Dean said. “Through this effort, I believe WVU and our department will be viewed in a positive light by the coal industry, labor, Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training, West Virginia Department of Commerce and hopefully the greatest benefit will be to those using and relying on the rules – coal miners.”
The West Virginia Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety is a unit within the West Virginia Department of Commerce aimed at implementing rules necessary to prevent fatal accidents and injuries.
“It is really incredible that the West Virginia Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety has asked President Gee for one of our mining extensions agents to fill this role,” Mining and Industrial Extension Director Joshua Brady said. “It is a testament to the high quality of work and professionalism both from Jim and the department. Both the Statler College along with mining extension have long been a foundation for providing services to the coal miners of West Virginia."
The Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training consists of a mine emergency response team that responds to mine emergencies statewide. As well as an emergency response team, the agency houses a team of inspectors that oversee underground, surface, electrical and diesel operations.
“I am happy to work with the professionals at the Board of Coal Mine Health and Safety, the Office of Miners' Health Safety and Training and the West Virginia Department of Commerce in reviewing the board's rules and playing a small part in some cases by bringing them up to date,” Dean said. “I have a much greater understanding of the complexity and nuances of our mine safety laws when comparing the West Virginia statutes and rules to federal law.”
The Department of Mining and Industrial Extension in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources provides on-site, technical assistance and training to manufacturers and to the coal mining industry throughout West Virginia and the region.
Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit
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