The 500-page state Senate budget that is loaded with all sorts of partisan, ideological maneuvers also includes a truly bad and unsafe provision to cut five safety and health consultants who staff the Mine & Quarry Inspection Division of the state Department of Labor.
These people do good work in providing federally-required training for mine and quarry workers and without them smaller quarries, of which there are many in North Carolina, would be left to hire private companies, which would be expensive. Federal grants also could be in jeopardy.
“A lot of the quarries in North Carolina are small, family-owned quarries,” said Jay Stem, head of the N.C. Aggregates Association. “They don’t have the resources to get the training at market prices.” He also noted something important: Small businesses such as landscapers and welders have to take the same training.