By Tina Grady Barbaccia, News and Digital Editor
More than 50 Helm Group (Conmat Inc.) volunteers helped Freeport, Ill.-based Dwyer Quarry put on its second annual Quarry Day on Sept. 18. The event is designed to provide kids with a “fun-filled introduction to the construction industry,” according to the Helm Group. Activities at the Quarry Day included mixing concrete, building a brick wall, and panning for “fool’s” gold, as well as shooting sling shots and throwing rocks at targets, playing quarry golf (with lots of sand), and testing skills for climbing walls.
The biggest attraction, though, the operation noted, was getting up close and personal with heavy construction equipment. Nearly a dozen pieces of construction equipment ranging from bulldozers to loaders and backhoes were on hand. Rockford, Ill., area equipment dealers Westside Tractor Sales, Patten Tractor, and McCallister Equipment Company supplied the equipment for the day, along with the Helm Group’s Heavy Equipment Services.
MSHA, UMWACC use Grant to fund mine rescue team training
The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has signed a cooperative agreement with the United Mine Workers of America Career Centers Inc. (UMWACC), in which the UMWACC will receive $1.45 million to develop classroom and simulated rescue training programs for mine rescue teams.
“The UMWACC and MSHA have continued a close working relationship through various contracts and cooperative agreements established in September 2008 and 2009,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “The partnership has developed successful training programs and competitions for mine rescue teams and first responders.”
Gregory R. Wagner, MSHA’s deputy assistant secretary for policy, notes that the Sago, Aracoma, and Darby mine disasters of 2006 indicated the need to better train and prepare mine rescue teams to effectively respond to mine emergencies at underground coal mines. “One of the best methods for preparing miners to respond to an emergency is through simulated mine emergency training,” said Wagner in a written statement.
The Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006, signed in the wake of these high-profile disasters, called for enhancing mine rescue teams and the development of up-to-date accident response plans.
Under the cooperative agreement, training may be conducted in classrooms, mine simulation lab facilities or, where possible, at mine sites with mine personnel. While distance learning is not excluded from the options, the focus of the program will be on training in real and simulated mine conditions.
Training likely will be conducted at the following locations: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Pittsburgh Research Laboratory in Bruceton, Pa.; the National Mine Health and Safety Academy Mine Simulation Laboratory in Beaver, W.Va.; and the Mining Technology and Training Center in Ruff Creek, Pa.
TIGER II requests top $19 billion
Forty-two capital construction projects and 33 planning projects in 40 states will share nearly $600 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) popular TIGER II program for major infrastructure projects ranging from highways and bridges to transit, rail, and ports, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood recently announced.
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