(a) The board shall establish criteria and standards for a program of education, training and examination to be required of all prospective miners and miners prior to their certification in any of the various miner specialties requiring certification under this article or any other provision of this code. The specialties include, but are not limited to, underground miner, surface miner, apprentice, underground mine foreman-fire boss, assistant underground mine foreman-fire boss, shotfirer, mine electrician and belt examiner. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the director may by rule further subdivide the classifications for certification.
(b) The board may require certification in other miner occupational specialties: Provided, That no new specialty may be created by the board unless certification in a new specialty is made desirable by action of the federal government requiring certification in a specialty not enumerated in this code.
(c) The board may establish criteria and standards for a program of preemployment education and training to be required of miners working on the surface at underground mines who are not certified under the provisions of this article or any other provision of this code.
(d) The board shall set minimum standards for a program of continuing education and training of certified persons and other miners on an annual basis: Provided, That the standards shall be consistent with the provisions of section seven of this article. Prior to issuing the standards, the board shall conduct public hearings at which the parties who may be affected by its actions may be heard. The education and training shall be provided in a manner determined by the director to be sufficient to meet the standards established by the board.
(e) The board may, in conjunction with any state, local or federal agency or any other person or institution, provide for the payment of a stipend to prospective miners enrolled in one or more of the programs of miner education, training and certification provided in this article or any other provision of this code.
(f) The board may also, from time to time, conduct any hearings and other oversight activities required to ensure full implementation of programs established by it.
(g) Nothing in this article empowers the board to revoke or suspend any certificate issued by the Director of the Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training.
(h) The board may, upon its own motion or whenever requested to do so by the director, consider two certificates issued by this State to be of equal value or consider training provided or required by federal agencies to be sufficient to meet training and education requirements set by it, the director, or by the provisions of this code.
(i) As part of the annual training required by this section, the board shall include training of certified persons and other miners, instruction on miners’ rights as they relate to the operation of unsafe equipment as provided in section seventy-one, article two of this chapter, his or her right to withdrawal from unsafe conditions as provided in section seventy-one-a of article two of this chapter and his or her rights under section twenty-two, article one of this chapter.