Coal companies receive safety awards from MHSA|
Monday, April 26, 2010
By Jane Elling Staff Writer
CURWENSVILLE - The Clearfield Council Joseph A. Holmes Safety Association held its 46th Annual Ladies Night and Safety Award Dinner Meeting Saturday at the Smokehouse Restaurant in Curwensville.
The 2009 Safety Awards were announced and plaques were presented by Debbie Quick, secretary of the Clearfield office of Mine Safety Health Administration, who was mistress of ceremonies.
Receiving the awards were Forcey Coal, Large Surface Mine; AMFIRE Mining Co., Surface Facility; Wampum Hardware, Philipsburg, Contractor Metal/Non-Metal; and Orica, USA, Contractor Coal.
In addition, Quick announced the companies with 0 Incident Rate for 2009: Junior Coal Co.; RES Coal; Allegheny Enterprises; Swisher Contracting; E.P. Bender Coal; Orica, USA; Wampum Hardware, Punxsutawney; Hoover Heavy Equipment; Cab Air; Hepburnia Coal; AMFIRE Mining Co.; Bell Resources; Forcey Coal; Northern Son; Wampum Hardware, Philipsburg; Douglas Explosives; Max Sam Drilling; and Austin Powder Co.
Officers for 2009-10 are Scott Kassab, president; Jim Rhodes, Tom Swank, Tom Bugay, Troy Greenawalt, vice presidents; Kim Lefebvre, treasurer; David Hayward, secretary; and Tim Walker, chaplain.
The featured speaker was Richard Hughes of Clearfield, local historian and author, who was accompanied by his wife, Cathie. A number of pictures were shown while Hughes talked about area history included in his book, "A Twentieth Century History of Clearfield County, PA, 1900-2000."
He said it was noted by Sara Stephenson one day at the Clearfield County Historical Society that many history books were published in the past but there were none about the 20th century. Two weeks later he began the project that took him seven years and cost $140,000. It was finished in 2006.
He listed the questions he asked of older citizens, such as what they remember about various events, their first car, airplanes, war service, one-room schools and employment.
Part of the book is about the significant people in the county in the 20th century and those who became famous during that time outside the borders of the county.
He mentioned the early times when Native Americans roamed the area and stated some are buried in graves in Curwensville at a site by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, rafting, transportation, cemeteries, and every borough and township. There are 1,350 pages and about 1,000 photos used to share the history.
The evening was dedicated to Ken Hewitt and a service award was presented to him by Kassab for his years of service and for serving as treasurer.
Another special presentation was given by John McMurray of MSHA to Mark LaRock.
McMurray described the event for which LaRock won the award, saying "Seat belts save lives" and noted the National Council of MSHA has a Seat Belt Award and a picture and story will be in the Holmes Safety Magazine.
LaRock, driving for Bell Resources, was on his way up a steep road that was 24 degrees when the truck spun out. He couldn't make the hill and started sliding backward. Remembering past training he put the truck in neutral so the engine would not stall. But when he did that with the weight of the truck it picked up speed and started backwards. With the front wheels locked up he couldn't steer the truck.
He let off the brakes so he could regain control and thought he had the speed so he could actually back down the berm. He was watching out of the back mirror the 52 feet road turned to 31 feet wide.
He overturned and rolled down 68 feet to the bottom. The truck was demolished and everything was out of the truck but LaRock. He did sustain injuries but is back to work.
McMurray added that the trucks are rough riding, they're large and it's not very comfortable to wear a seat belt 12 hours a day, but LaRock does this religiously.
All those attending were treated to a meal, the ladies received gifts and dancing followed with music provided by Murph n Turk.