FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 15, 2004) – Paris L. Charles of Pikeville, a 27-year veteran of the Kentucky coal mining industry, has been named executive director of the Office of Mine Safety and Licensing, Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet (EPPC) Secretary LaJuana S. Wilcher announced today.
Charles has an extensive background in mine safety compliance and training. He began his mining career in 1976 as an equipment operator at the Canada Coal Co. in Kimper and later served as mine superintendent at Koch Carbon Industries in Martin. Charles has been a member of the Kentucky Mining Board and has held mine safety management positions at Costain Coal Inc. and Lodestar Energy, both in Pikeville.
He most recently served as the eastern Kentucky loss education representative for Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI) where he analyzed safety programs to assist in underwriting for workers’ compensation insurance.
“Worker safety, including mine safety, is a top priority for Governor Fletcher and our cabinet, and while accidents do occur, we believe they don’t always have to occur. We are counting on Paris Charles and his decades of experience to provide the leadership necessary to focus improvements on mine safety in the Commonwealth,” said Wilcher.
“As executive director of the Office of Mine Safety and Licensing, I will strive to eliminate unsafe work habits through strong enforcement activities, personal commitments from miners and leadership from the mining industry. We must educate our miners and managers that safety is the key in all aspects of mining,” said Charles.
“As a coal producer, I am proud to have the commitment of this administration in the ongoing effort to keep miners safe. Coal operators are equally concerned about the safety of miners, and we are glad to have Paris Charles in place as the executive director of the Office of Mine Safety and Licensing,” said Jim Booth, president of Beech Fork Processing Inc.
Charles received an associate’s degree in mining technology from Pikeville College and has served on the Health and Safety Committees for Kentucky Coal Association and the Coal Operators and Associates of Kentucky. Charles is also a board member for the Kentucky Mine Institute.
The Office of Mine Safety and Licensing is an agency of the EPPC.