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Featured Certified Mine Safety Professionals

Read more about current Certified Mine Safety Professionals and how receiving this credential took their mine safety career to the next step.

Kimberly Walster

Behavior Based Safety & Training Specialist, Prairie State Generating Company

What is your role in mine safety and health, and how long have you been in this arena?

I lead the CORESafety efforts at our mine, which included developing our Health & Safety Management System along with implementing and training on the 20 modules. For the last 11 years I have worked at an underground coal mine in southern Illinois.

The Interview

What excites you about mine safety and health? What personal achievements in mine safety and health have made you proud?

What excites me about mine safety and health are the technology advancements that we have in our industry. In just the last decade we have seen advancements in wi-fi capabilities underground, tracking, thermo-imaging, communication and training. I am personally proud to see miners embracing the ever-changing technology. Furthermore, they are finding new ways to incorporate it into their daily routine of safely producing coal.

What made you decide to pursue the CMSP credential?

I pursued the CMSP certification because I felt it added value to my other training and certifications. Being a CMSP benefits our safety initiatives at our mine with continuing-education units though SME. During the prep course, it was great to learn alongside others working in the mining industry.

Why do you think the CMSP credential is important?

The CMSP is a great credential to add to your resume that encourages continuous improvement and education. If you are looking for a personal development goal the CMSP is a great choice. Other safety credentials do not reflect the mining designation, which I feel is important to achieve if working in mining. Of course, all safety certifications and training will benefit your safety efforts, the CMSP designation sets you apart. The Department of Labor recognized the need for a separate division for mining, so it seems important that we embrace the need and importance for individual safety designation for mining too.

Does it make a difference if a mining operation includes “CMSP preferred” in job listings?

If a mining operation has “CMSP Preferred” in a job listing, I feel it speaks volumes to the safety culture of that organization. There is a difference in how a company thinks and behaves when safety is a value. At Prairie State, our chief executive officer believes that “Safety is the responsibility of every person, at every level, every day.”

What do you hope the future holds for yourself and for mine safety and health?

I hope the future holds positive changes and partnerships among every type of mining operation. I am equally impressed and excited by advancements in mining technology. There will always be unique challenges, including regulatory responsibilities and changes in mining conditions, so I hope companies see the benefit that comes with CMSP designation and use it as a recruiting tool for top industry talent.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in this field?

Network, network, network! I feel that becoming a CMSP has led to wonderful opportunities within both the SME and our industry. There are so many who are passionate about safety and willing to share their knowledge, ideas, trials and tribulations. Reach out and partner with subject-matter experts working at the mines, regulators, educators, researchers and innovators at NIOSH. I have only had positive experiences when it comes to discussing mine safety and health.

Any tips or advice for the CMSP exam?

I was part of the inaugural prep course with the SME and felt it was beneficial, since my mining experience was exclusively in underground coal. It was a great overview and refresher prior to taking the exam. My employer supported the CMSP credential because of their belief that an outstanding safety culture is the key to getting the workforce aligned, engaged and achieving outstanding results so that you can become “best in class.”

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The Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME) brings together the mining and mineral industry’s brightest and most dedicated professionals. Over 14,000 global members advance their careers with world-class technical resources, educational programs, networking opportunities, and professional development tools from SME. Our members are focused on sharing best practices on safety, environmental stewardship, and moving mining forward. SME. Inspiring mining professionals worldwide.

SME acquired the CMSP certification as a part of our ongoing commitment to supporting mine safety and health professionals around the world. SME's Health and Safety Division provides global resources for mine safety and health information, professional development, networking and advocacy.

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