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WIPP Employee Honored for Improving Miner Safety
CARLSBAD, N.M. – A subject matter expert on underground ventilation at the nation's only deep geologic repository has been recognized by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration for his work to improve miner safety.
The society’s Health and Safety Division honored Kirk H. McDaniel of EM’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) as the 2021 recipient of its Health and Safety Research and Education Excellence Award.
“We at CBFO consider ourselves to be very fortunate to have employees of the caliber of Kirk McDaniel on our federal staff,” CBFO Manager Reinhard Knerr said. “Kirk’s credentials and experience speak for themselves, and we congratulate him on this important award from his peers.”
The award recognizes individuals who have exhibited outstanding dedication, leadership or heroism in exploration, mining and metallurgy occupational safety and health management. The society honored McDaniel for “advocating and promoting advanced technology research and development of the ‘Mine of the Future’ to reduce the risks and improve miner safety” and for his long tenure as associate editor for the society.
McDaniel is a licensed professional mining engineer with almost 40 years of experience in underground mining and tunneling environments. From 1993 to 2002, he served as a senior engineer for the WIPP management and operations contractor. During that time, he was in charge of the mine ventilation system as a cognizant system engineer. He was also involved in the development of multiple first-generation technologies to support the WIPP mission. McDaniel returned to the Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO) as a federal employee in April 2021.
McDaniel holds a doctorate in mining and earth systems engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, with an emphasis on fire life safety and emergency preparedness in underground spaces. He has Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering degrees in mining engineering from the school, as well as a Master of Business Administration from Regis University in Colorado. He is a certified mine safety professional and holds a U.S. Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration blue card as a certified trainer for both surface and underground mines.
The international professional and technical society promotes the mining and extractive industries, with more than 13,000 members around the world. McDaniel has served the society in a variety of roles since 1981, including as a subcommittee member and panel chair.