SALT LAKE CITY, July 5, 2011 - Commissioner Sherrie Hayashi has named David (Kent) Houghton of Price, Utah, as Director of the State's Office of Coal Mine Safety (OCMS). The OCMS was established at the recommendation of the Utah Mine Safety Commission, following the Crandall Canyon Mine Disaster in 2007 where six mine workers and three rescue workers died. The OCMS exists to maximize coal mine safety, prevent coal mine accidents, and provide for effective coal mine accident response in the State of Utah.
Houghton has been employed in the coal mining industry in Utah for 36 years. During that time, he has worked in many of the coal mines in the Carbon and Emery county areas. This experience has given him a comprehensive and diverse background, and provides Kent with a thorough understanding of the mining industry's problems and headwinds to draw upon as the Director of the Office of Coal Mine Safety.
"The coal mining industry is of vital importance to the nation's energy needs, and is equally important to the state and local communities for jobs and the economic development the industry brings," stated Mr. Houghton, "The Office of Coal Mine Safety can best serve the state and the industry by providing leadership in the areas of safety, training, education, technical development and disaster planning. This will help the coal mine industry meet their safety objectives and provide for the safety of the coal miners."
The Director of the Office of Coal Mine Safety's mission is to work closely with the mining industry, coal miner unions, technical experts, educational institutions, MSHA and other U.S. government, city, county and state agencies to achieve a safe and productive coal mining industry in the State of Utah. As Director of the OCMS, Houghton will be responsible for monitoring coal mine safety and will act as Utah liaison with MSHA as well.
To contact the Office of Coal Mine Safety, call the Toll-Free Number: 1-888-9UT-MINE (988- 6463)