Peabody Energy receives safety honors from mining organizations

Quotable...

“Every day we focus on a collaborative approach to develop innovative solutions to create a work environment that is safe, efficient, technology-driven and environmentally responsible. The safety innovation awards are especially significant to us because our employees are always looking at ways to improve safety.”

Pat Sollars, vice president and general manager of Peabody Energy’s Colorado operations.

The awards keep stacking up for Peabody Energy’s Colorado mining operations.

On Tuesday, the St. Louis-based company announced it was recognized by the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety as well as the Colorado Mining Association for five safety innovations developed in 2012 at Twentymile Mine in Routt County.

Among those innovations are a telescoping rod that prevents ladders from tipping, improvements to the conveyor belt system, using pilot holes for installing stopping rails, a fire valve bracket to prevent dust accumulation and reduce maintenance and the creation of a system to raise and lower pulleys to eliminate falling hazards.

Twentymile Mine was the only operation honored for innovation and the only operation that has been honored for innovation every year since the awards have been presented, according to a Peabody Energy news release.

“Every day we focus on a collaborative approach to develop innovative solutions to create a work environment that is safe, efficient, technology-driven and environmentally responsible,” said Pat Sollars, vice president and general manager of Peabody Energy’s Colorado operations. “The safety innovation awards are especially significant to us because our employees are always looking at ways to improve safety. Our efforts are paying off with safety performance that set a new record at Twentymile.”

Twentymile is Colorado’s largest coal mine and achieved in 2012 a company record for safety performance with a 0.96 incidence rate, which is approximately one-third the average for surface and underground U.S. coal mines.

Last month, Peabody executives traveled to Twentymile Mine to present each of its five crews with the 2012 President’s Safety Award.

Roy Karo, Colorado reclamation manager, also was honored with the Colorado Mining Association’s Dr. James A. Pendleton Award for Reclamation recognizing his 36-year career with Peabody in Colorado and for pioneering best practices in regard to land restoration.

During his career, Karo has applied land restoration practices that have resulted in diverse stands of vegetation, improved drainage control and reclaimed land that attracts a variety of wildlife including the sharp-tailed grouse and large populations of elk and mule deer.

Those restored lands encompass more than 50,000 acres of Peabody Energy’s land holdings in Colorado and are as much as four times more productive for livestock grazing as native range, the release states.

“I am very proud of my involvement with developing techniques for the re-establishment of quaking aspen in Northwest Colorado,” Karo said. “Aspen creates unique habitat for wildlife and aspen re-establishment is a priority with the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife and landowners.

“The techniques we have developed for mined land reclamation can be replicated throughout the Rocky Mountain region by anyone involved in habitat development.”

As a company, Twentymile Mine received two additional awards. The Coal Reclamation Award, which was presented in recognition of Twentymile’s excellence in obtaining a legacy bond release for its Sage Creek portal, and the Senior Participant Award with Special Recognition, which recognized Twentymile Mine’s efforts to recycle more than 1 million pounds of material.

“Our Colorado team is known for a progressive culture that prizes innovation and best practice in all facets of our activities,” Peabody Energy-Americas President Kemal Williamson said in the release. “I’m proud of our employees for their leadership in setting safety and environmental standards that are respected among the highest levels in the state and the industry.”

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com.

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