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The principal form of assistance that states should offer to operators of small mines consists of advisory services of the following nature: 1) The operator of a small mine needs technical assistance pertaining to the physical conditions in his mine: the geology of the mine, appropriate mining methods, safe use of mining equipment, dust control, ventilation, etc. 2) The operator of a small mine needs advice concerning miner training, specifically on-the-job training and the use of job safety analysis (see p. 123 of Toward Safer Underground Coal Mines). For example, where required, a state advisor should spend several hours with each miner in a typical small mine, one employing up to 10 or 20 miners. He should observe how the miner goes about his job and give him advice on safe procedures. As a result of his observations, the advisor could develop a written safe job procedure to be given to the miner and to the operator. On subsequent visits the state advisor could observe whether the miner's safe work performance has improved. The federal government, acting through the Mine Safety and Health Administration, can help to improve the safety of small underground coal mines principally in two ways: 1) By providing technical information and training aids to state mining agencies. 2) By providing grants-in-aid to states to support their advisory efforts for small coal mines.
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