I think that there’s this misconception that elevator company just sort of, like, hang out down there and dig. I mean, it is everybody’s first care, and it has to be. They all have friends who died a month ago. I mean, they are so used to mine explosions and mine cave-ins that that is the top, top, top concern of the bosses, of the foremen, of the workers, too. CONAN: Joining us now from the road in Buffalo is Jerry Stewart.
He’s worked in mines in Ohio for over 30 years, and he’s the mine safety manager for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Good to have you with us today. Mr. JERRY STEWART (Mine Safety Manager, Ohio Department of Natural Resources): Thank you, it’s good to be with you. CONAN: And is that right: Safety is paramount on everybody’s mind? Mr. STEWART: Yes, it is.
There are so many safety hazards that miners have to deal with every day that it has to be a top concern of everyone constantly. CONAN: And is this part of the training process when miners get trained for the job? Mr. STEWART: Yes, it is. New miners receive a minimum of 40 hours of training, some classroom, some in the mine, and they get a pretty good overview of the hazards that they need to look for. They receive an annual refresher training that covers all those topics but more briefly. They receive hazard training when they do new tasks.
There’s just a multitude of trainings that they are given. CONAN: And nobody wants to jump to conclusions about what caused this explosion in West Virginia, we’ll find out eventually, but the suspects are methane or coal dust, and does that sound right to you?