CHARLESTON — Four CONSOL Energy Inc. mine operations were recognized for their safety performance in 2012, receiving safety awards in both the surface and underground mine categories through the West Virginia Mountaineer Guardian Awards program. The awards were presented during the 40th annual West Virginia Mining Symposium held in Charleston on March 7.
CONSOL Energy’s McElroy Mine in Moundsville earned the Eustace E. Frederick Milestones of Safety Award which is the top award for underground mine safety, recognizing it for the best safety performance among West Virginia underground mines in 2012. CONSOL’s Peg Fork Surface Mine in Naugatuck; McElroy Mine’s Ireland Load-Out in Moundsville; and the Loveridge Mine in Fairview, each earned a Mountaineer Guardian award.
“We are proud of the safety records achieved by our underground and surface operations in West Virginia which have been recognized through the Mountaineer Guardian Awards program,” said J. Brett Harvey, CONSOL Energy chairman and CEO. “As we have previously noted, these recognitions are a credit to our employees and a reflection of not only CONSOL Energy’s commitment to safety, but also of the personal commitment to safety held by each of our employees at these operations.”
Earlier in the day, during his keynote address at the symposium, CONSOL Energy President Nicholas J. DeIuliis noted while progress has been made by CONSOL and the rest of industry related to reductions in incident rates, the severity of accidents remains an obstacle. He called it a collective challenge requiring a collective solution.
“The interests of industry, labor and government are aligned with the potential to work together, and we must do just that,” DeIuliis said. “Only if we align ourselves and cooperate can we correct the decisions and behaviors which lead to severe accidents.”
The 2012 safety performance awards are based on statistics recorded from October 2011 through September 2012. McElroy’s 1,043 employees worked safely for 2.5 million hours with a 1.5 incident rate to earn the Eustace E. Frederick Milestones of Safety Award. Peg Fork Mine’s 47 employees worked 118,528 hours with zero accidents; the McElroy Mine Ireland Load-Out’s 18 employees worked safely during the period with zero accidents; and the Loveridge Mine’s 713 employees worked 1,034,226 hours with an incident rate of 1.46 to achieve Mountaineer Guardian awards.
“At CONSOL Energy, safety is a value,” Mr. Harvey noted. “That value is reflected in the honors achieved at these mining locations and is proof positive that when employees view safety as a value, the results are found not only in the statistics which result in awards, but even more importantly in their ability to go home to their families each and every day just as they came to work. Our employees understand they are empowered to do whatever they need to do to work safely every day. We are proud of them and their achievements.”
The West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training and the West Virginia Coal Association (Mining and Reclamation Association) established the Mountaineer Guardian Safety Awards Program in 1983 as a joint effort to promote safety in the coalfields of West Virginia. The special program gives recognition to mining workplaces where employees have accumulated qualifying amounts of production without experiencing a fatal accident. Mining operations are divided into categories, based on number of employees in order to be considered for the awards.
Inspectors for the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety & Training nominate companies who they feel have achieved a balance of production and safety. Selection criteria also include safety program initiatives by the company; the nominated company’s safety record; and its violation history.