Mine Safety Speaker Brings Cautionary Tale

SOCORRO, N.M. April 30, 2012 – Charlie Morecraft, longtime spokesman for industrial safety, is the keynote speaker for at the 2012 New Mexico Mine Health and Safety Conference, which kicks off today (Monday, April 30). Morecraft brings a personal message about industrial safety when he takes the stage at Macey Center at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday.

 Charlie Morecraft, former Exxon refinery worker and noted speaker on safety issues.       
Photo courtesy of NASA/Sean Smith

State Mine Inspector Terence Foreback said Morecraft will talk about his experiences when he was involved in an industrial accident that left him severely burned and requiring medical treatment for many years.

“Our conference theme is ‘Your Path to Success’ and we want to encourage people in the mining industry to think about health and safety as the course that must be taken to assure successful operations,” Foreback said. “The safest mines are the most productive and the most profitable.”

Morecraft will speak at the Tuesday Keynote session at 8 a.m. during the three-day conference. When Charlie tells his story the audience sits in rapt attention as they are moved to new levels of awareness. Charlie has that rare and unique ability to speak with ordinary words and conjure extraordinary images.

His primary messages are "Safety is about going home at the end of the day, kissing your wife and hugging your kids", and "We are each responsible for our own safety". They aren't new messages, but Charlie gives us a powerful new way of looking at them.

The Conference Committee is convinced that Charlie’s message is valuable for all in the Tech and the local community to hear. To reach as many people as possible, the keynote session will be open to the public with no charge.

Health will also be stressed at this year’s conference. Healthy employees contribute at higher levels to an organization’s success. Events will include free health screenings by the Miners’ Colfax Mobile Unit and a free health fair with health care professionals from the mining industry.

This is the fifth year that mining professionals will congregate at New Mexico Tech for the annual New Mexico Mine Health and Safety Conference. Foreback said he expects this year’s event to be more successful then the highly attended conferences of the past.

“We had 175 participants last year and are hoping for a better turnout this year,” he said. “We have excellent guest speakers and a series of important, informative breakout session topics.”

The New Mexico Bureau of Mine Safety, a department of New Mexico Tech, provides professional services to the state and its miners. Foreback has served as State Mine Inspector for five years.

This year’s conference continues to expand and improve on the quality of the presentation and speakers, Foreback said. Sessions are planned on three tracks: leadership, strategies and practice to appeal to the diverse nature of participants. Expected are members of the hourly work force, management, safety pros, and regulators.

Foreback said, “We’re trying to draw a cross-section of the more than 6,000 people employed in the mining industry in New Mexico, to bring together different parts of mining organizations to work on mine health and safety issues.”

The conference theme “Your Path to Success” gives a nod to topics important to the industry that can be taken back to mining operations to further their safety success.

Most of the events take place at Macey Center, including four meals which are included in the $75 (early registration) price of the conference. Those interested may get information and registration forms by calling the Bureau of Mine Safety at (575) 835-5460.

The conference opens at 9 a.m. Monday with exhibitor setup. Monday afternoon’s schedule is devoted to special programs and recreation including four hour sessions on fall protection and CPR and a golf tournament at 11:30 a.m.

A special Miner’s Lunch Bucket dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. at Macey Center. A cocktail hour will precede dinner with entertainment by Holy Water and Whiskey, a folk-country music trio from Albuquerque. The dinner speaker will be Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold’s VP of Administration and Tyrone Mine Manager, Richard Mohr.

“We are excited to have a representative of Freeport McMoRan,” Foreback said. “They have been big supporters of New Mexico Tech providing an endowment for a professorship, scholarships to students and contributions for the new child care facility, among other donations.”

Charlie Morecraft will be keynote speaker for the Tuesday morning session, followed by break-out sessions in the morning and afternoon.

A spouse tour promises to be very entertaining. A Moroccan cooking school will be conducted by Chartwell’s Chef Hussan. Participants can learn some of the Chef’s secrets to the foods of his homeland.

Tours of the Mineral Museum will begin at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, followed by a banquet starting with a cocktail hour at 5:30 p.m. John Mansanti , Senior Vice President of Operations for Intrepid Potash will be the featured speaker.

Wednesday’s opening session begins at 8 a.m. followed by break-out sessions and adjournment at noon. A YouTube video discussing the conference is online at http://youtu.be/bYHSOuFA-IU

Foreback was reappointed as State Mine Inspector in 2011 by Governor Martinez. Foreback previously worked for the Mining and Minerals Division of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, following 26 years in private mining industry.

This year’s conference committee includes representatives of the Bureau of Mine Safety, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration and the New Mexico mining industries.

– NMT –