To qualify for the eight-state award mines must have produced substantial coal volumes without a reportable safety incident during 2011. Mines then were compared using total incident rate data as reported to MSHA for the calendar year.

“Dugout Canyon’s zero total incident rate puts them at the head of the industry,” said Judy Colgan, RMCMI executive director. “The mine’s continued safety performance is truly remarkable and deserves this recognition.”

“This is a significant award that recognizes the professionalism and dedication of all Dugout Canyon mine employees,” said Gene DiClaudio, president, Arch Western Bituminous Group. “Safety is foremost at every one of our operations.”

In addition, the Dugout Canyon mine also has been named 2011 Safe Operator of the Year among underground coal mines and the Castle Valley preparation plant has been named 2011 Safe Coal Processing Facility by the Utah State Labor Commission and Office of Coal Mine Safety (OCMS).

“Your safety record of zero incidents for the year 2011 is a great achievement in the coal industry and reflects on your company’s fine safety programs and training,” said David Houghton, director of Utah Coal Mine Safety. “The men and women who work at Dugout have shown a great commitment to the culture of safety, and these awards reflect highly on their personal commitment. Congratulations to everyone at Dugout. Thank you for being a leader in mine safety in Utah and for providing the men and women who work in the mining industry a safe and productive workplace.”

“We applaud the employees at Dugout and Castle Valley for achieving these honors and, more importantly, for making safety an integral part of daily operations,” said Erwin Sass, general manager of Dugout Canyon. “Our employees have thoroughly demonstrated Arch Coal’s safety commitment, and we sincerely appreciate the RMCMI, Utah State Labor Commission and OCMS for acknowledging and honoring Dugout’s outstanding efforts.”

In 2011, Dugout Canyon employees worked 449,797 hours with a lost-time incident rate of zero, compared to the national average of 2.44 incidents per 200,000 employee-hours. Dugout Canyon mine has operated since May 2010 without a reportable safety incident. Dugout Canyon’s Castle Valley preparation plant has operated incident-free for more than five consecutive years.

Canyon Fuel Co. is Utah’s largest coal producer and a large state employer, with a workforce of more than 700. It operates the Dugout Canyon, Skyline and Sufco mines.