Kearney Conference Focuses on Mining Safety

Officials say working with mining operations like sand and gravel pits is an inherently dangerous job.

"We have large equipment and a lot of moving parts, a lot of things are happening," says Mick Anderson, Executive Director of the Great Plains Safety and Health Organization. "Then also obviously we've got water and sand and things - working with the environment - that are unpredictable."

Anderson says they want to reinforce best practices for worker safety at this year's "Spring Thaw" Mining Safety Conference, but also make companies aware of changes in federal safety rules.

"There are some compliance items that they need to make sure they keep up to date and understand to keep their mine on target," he says. "They need to make sure they understand the new laws that are coming out and following existing laws."

Officials say that mining is a big industry in Nebraska with over 200 mines located across the state, making it even more important that operators and contractors think safety first.

"We have the same goal as the Mine Safety Health Administration - we want to make sure that our individuals make it home to be with their families at night," says Stan Benke, Safety Director for Lyman-Richey Corporation. "That's our top priority."

Benke says Lyman-Richey has sand and gravel and ready mix concrete operations in Nebraska and Colorado. He says being able to share his experiences in mining operation safety might help others better anticipate safety challenges.

He says being able to network with other companies and safety directors is a conference bonus.

"Next week you might get a call from someone who attended here following up with your presentation, so that's what it's all about," says Benke.

In addition to regulation changes, conference speakers also talked about day-to-day task safety like proper rigging methods and fall protection.

The Nebraska Safety Center in Kearney offers mine safety training. For more contact them or the Great Plains Safety and Health Organization:

Nebraska Safety Center
227E West Center, UNK
Kearney, NE 68849

Great Plains Safety and Health Organization
1917 W 24th St
RM 220E West Center-UNK Campus
Kearney, NE 68849

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