Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Joseph A. (Joe) Main has been involved in mining and mine safety since he began working in coal mines in 1967. He is a native of Greene County Pennsylvania which leads the state in coal production. From the outset of his career he has been an advocate for miner’s safety and health.
He was nominated by President Barack Obama as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health (MSHA) and confirmed by the Senate on October 21 2009.
Main was hired by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) in 1974 to be an assistant to the International President. In 1976 he joined the Safety Division of the UMWA serving as safety inspector administrative assistant and deputy director.
In 1982 he was appointed administrator of the UMWA Occupational Health and Safety Department a position he held for 22 years managing the organization’s international health and safety program. He has served on a number of federal advisory committees joint labor/management committees mining industry partnerships and international tripartite committees relating to mine safety.
Before he accepted President Obama’s nomination he worked as a mine safety consultant and was involved in a number of mine emergencies and accident investigations. His recent work focused on research and analysis on prevention of mine accidents and disasters development of training programs and facilities to prepare miners rescue teams and emergency responders for mine emergencies and international mine safety issues.