The National Mine Health and Safety Academy opened at Beaver, near Beckley, on August 17, 1976. The 80-acre campus, which can accommodate 600 students, is the largest in the world devoted solely to mine safety and health.
It is the central training facility for federal mine inspectors and mine safety professionals, with a stated goal of reducing accidents and improving miners’ health and safety.
In addition to coal miners, the academy also serves those who mine sand and gravel, gold, silver, copper, uranium, and other minerals.
The academy is operated by the Mine Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor. About 28,000 students attend annually—an average of 200 to 300 daily. In response to growing international concern about mine health and safety, the academy has expanded to address the health and safety of miners worldwide. Cooperative programs allow representatives and inspectors from other nations to participate in health and safety classes, training programs, and activities. International visitors to the National Mine Health and Safety Academy have included delegations from Russia, Ukraine, Poland, China, Thailand, and South Africa.