According to the SME, eligibility for the award includes performance in accordance with certain health and safety metrics as well as documentation of the organization’s approach to operational management in a number of safety and health related areas including emergency response, compliance practices, training and education.

The academy’s director, Gary Frampton, accepted the Operational Excellence award on behalf of the company.

“With our available training options, an underground miner can be trained on site-specific issues while just outside the door of the building, a surface miner is practicing fall rescue and recovery training,” Frampton said. “With a hands-on approach, we retain much more of what we are taught. At the academy, our approach is unique to each group of miners — specific to their mine plans, seam conditions and day-to-day challenges.”

Located in Julian, West Virginia, the academy is a regional center for advancing mine safety utilizing state-of-the-art simulation and training equipment to provide a safe and engaging learning environment for miners.

“The academy is an exceptional, safety-focused facility with a truly unique methodology,” said Kevin Crutchfield, Contura’s chief executive officer. “We’re honored by this award, which underscores the importance of safety training in the mining industry and specifically showcases our innovative approach in taking training to a new level.”