Coal Forum attracts experts, miners

MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - Last week we told you about the reported seven mine deaths this year, with four of them happening here in the Mountain State.

Safety in the mines continues to be a hot topic among those in the industry, including current workers.

Those in the coal industry continue to stay focused on helping the industry survive.

"We constantly work towards making the mines a safer place," said Chris Hamilton, Co-Chair of the West Virginia Coal Forum. "Every single miner on every single shift should return to his family and loved ones every single day."

Focus. That's the key word that Terry Chapman used when talking about safety in the mines. Chapman is still active in the mines, but told us he went to this year's Coal Forum in order to learn different safety techniques.

"We've got to change the way that we do things, and I think we are headed in the right direction with safety," said Terry Chapman, a miner in Logan County. "In the coming years we have improved tremendously with what we do."

He said it's absolutely crucial to stay focused. He said progress has been made on safety but in some ways, those in the industry need to keep safety an absolute priority.

"There's always something you can improve in safety, but stay focused on what you already have and make sure it works and keep your men focused and your workers focused," Chapman said.

That's similar for the man in charge at WVU's Mine Training Center just outside of Morgantown. He said they're trying to stay up to date.

"We do a lot of mine rescue and fire brigade," said Jim Dean. "Obviously we're looking for new information to inject into our training."