§22A-7-2. Declaration of legislative findings and policy.

The Legislature hereby finds and declares that:

(a) The continued prosperity of the coal industry is of primary importance to the state of West Virginia;

(b) The highest priority and concern of this Legislature and all in the coal mining industry must be the health and safety of the industry's most valuable resource -- the miner;

(c) A high priority must also be given to increasing the productivity and competitiveness of the mines in this state;

(d) An inordinate number of miners, working on both the surface in surface mining and in and at underground mines, are injured during the first few months of their experience in a mine;

(e) These injuries result in the loss of life and serious injury to miners and are an impediment to the future growth of West Virginia's coal industry;

(f) Injuries can be avoided through proper miner training, education and certification;

(g) Mining is a technical occupation with various specialties requiring individualized training and education; and

(h) It is the general purpose of this article to:

(1) Require adequate training, education and meaningful certification of all persons employed in coal mines;

(2) Establish a board of miner training, education and certification and empower it to require certain training and education of all prospective miners and miners certified by the state;

(3) Authorize a stipend for prospective miners enrolled in this state's miner training, education and certification program;

(4) Direct the director of the office of miners' health, safety and training to apply and implement the standards set by the board of miner training, education and certification by establishing programs for miner and prospective miner education and training; and

(5) Provide for a program of continuing miner education for all categories of certified miners.