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Two Canyon Fuel Co. operations in Carbon County have received safety awards from the Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute at its 100th annual meeting.

The Dugout Canyon coal mine received the top safety award for large underground mines, and also was designated 2011's "Safe Operator of the Year," after reporting no lost time accidents last year.

A similar safety mark netted Canyon Fuel's Castle Valley preparation plant a "Safe Coal Processing Facility" award from the Utah Labor Commission and its Office of Coal Mine Safety.

"Dugout Canyon's zero total incident rate puts them at the head of the industry," Judy Colgan, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute, said in a news release. Institute members come from eight Intermountain states.

Added David Houghton, Utah's coal mine safety director: "The men and women who work at Dugout [and Castle Valley] have shown a great commitment to the culture of safety. These awards reflect highly on their personal commitments."

Canyon Fuel, a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Arch Coal Inc., is Utah's largest producer of coal. It employs almost 700 people at its Dugout Canyon, Sufco and Skyline mines, as well as the preparation plant.

In 2011, Dugout Canyon employees worked almost 450,000 hours without a lost-time incident, compared to the national average of 2.44 incidents per 200,000 employee hours, said mine general manager Erwin Sass.

The Castle Valley preparation plant has not had an accident in five consecutive years, he added.


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