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James Meadows, right, vice president for safety for Blackhawk Mining, describes the safety measures employed in underground mines to the Marshall University team that will be helping to prepare new safety training videos. Pictured, from left, are Heath Wade, graduate student in the Marshall College of Engineering and Computer Sciences, and Melissa McCloud and Karen Fry, both graduates of the Marshall School of Art and Design.

HUNTINGTON — The Marshall University Research Corporation (MURC) has received a $130,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Brookwood-Sago Mine Safety Grants program, according to a news release. Marshall will develop and pilot new safety and emergency preparedness videos that will be available for use throughout the mining industry.

The Brookwood-Sago program is a nationally competitive program established by Congress in the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act of 2006 in honor of 25 miners who died in 2001 in Brookwood, Alabama, at the Jim Walter Resources No. 5 mine and in 2006 in Buckhannon, West Virginia, at the Sago Mine.

“We certainly want to remember those that lost their lives in the Brookwood and Sago mine disasters as well as their families at this time,” said Dr. Richard Begley, a professor of civil engineering at Marshall and principal investigator for the grant. “And we are very appreciative that our funding request was approved after a comprehensive grant application evaluation and selection process, and that we were the second highest grant awarded in the country this year.”

The video production project will be a joint effort among Marshall’s Department of Civil Engineering and the Occupational Safety and Health Program (OSH), both in the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences, as well as Marshall’s College of Arts and Media, and Blackhawk Mining LLC, a Kentucky and West Virginia metallurgical coal production company.

“The training videos will be public domain and are a great example of successful internal collaborations at Marshall, and between industry and academia”, said James McIntosh, co-principal investigator for the grant and the chair of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, where the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) program is housed.

“John Opperman, director of safety for Blackhawk Mining, OSH advisory board member and Marshall graduate, brought the idea of a partnership on this project to us,” McIntosh said. “The idea and project are the perfect example of how an advisory board and the college should work together, and we are pleased to be partnering with Blackhawk Mining.”

The project will be completed with the help of two videographers from the College of Arts and Media: Melissa McCloud, the academic lab manager and safety officer at the art warehouse for the School of Art and Design, and Karen Fry, a part-time MURC employee and recent graduate of the School of Art and Design.

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