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Utah Labor Commissioner Appoints Director of Office of Coal Mine Safety

Commissioner Sherrie Hayashi has named Garth J. Nielsen of Helper, as Director of the state's new Office of Coal Mine Safety (OCMS), effective July 14.

The OCMS was established at the recommendation of the Utah Mine Safety Commission, appointed by Governor Jon Huntsman. Governor Huntsman appointed the 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.

Nielsen has been employed in the mining industry for over 35 years, most recently as Director of Mine Development at Interwest Mining. At Interwest, Nielsen was responsible for recruiting, hiring and training employees.

Throughout his mining career, Nielsen has had vast experience in both ground control and underground construction, which included longwall production and supervision.

"Garth's strong commitment to mining safety is evident through his valuable experience with developing and implementing numerous company safety plans covering all aspects of coal mining operations throughout his career," said Commissioner Hayashi. "He is also experienced in working with mandates and criteria of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) which will be integral with this position. His qualifications and experience bring great leadership and balance to his position as Utah's first Director of the Office of Coal Mine Safety."

As Director of the OCMS, Nielsen will be responsible for monitoring mine safety and will act as Utah liaison with MSHA as well.

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