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Channellock Inc., headquartered in Meadville, Pa., and known for its trademark blue-handled pliers, has been making quality hand tools since 1886. Today, more than 120 years later, Channellock is being recognized for something other than its top-of-the-line tools – its employee safety.
After being nominated for the award for the second consecutive year, Channellock was officially selected as the recipient of this year's Pennsylvania Governor's Award for Safety Excellence.
"Providing a safe work environment for Channellock employees is of the greatest importance," said Bill DeArment, Channellock's president and CEO. "We are honored to be recognized for a safety program that was formed through collaborative efforts, one that we plan to continue to evolve as the needs of our employees evolve."
The awards, which were announced at the Governor's Occupational Safety and Health Conference in Hershey, Pa., on October 28, were given to Pennsylvania-based companies that demonstrated excellence in the areas of accident reduction, safety program implementation and employee safety involvement. Pennsylvania's Department of Labor and Industry made the final award determinations after completing an on-site visit of each semi-finalist's facilities and a review of each applicant's safety program and results.
Channellock's safety program is an ongoing, collaborative effort between its management team and union. Over the last several years, the union safety committee has made numerous recommendations for safety improvement that Channellock has acted upon. Organizationally, Channellock has established a Total Safety Program that emphasizes accident prevention and job safety awareness. As employee participation has increased over the years, and its safety processes have become more refined, Channellock's injury frequency has dramatically declined. In 2007, Channellock experienced 90 percent fewer employee injuries than in 2001, which prompted its workers' compensation insurance carrier, The PMA Insurance Group, to nominate Channellock for this prestigious award for the second year running.
"Channellock has made safety a priority," adds Tim Davis, Channellock's safety director. "It's part of our everyday business now. We have made material handling changes, added a safety awareness program, formed a proactive safety committee and implemented training in first aid and CPR. Today, we conduct monthly safety checks in every department and use these measures collectively to prevent accidents and keep Channellock a safe place to work."
Safer work environments are a win-win for everyone and Channellock operates some of the safest in the industry. While it is usually Channellock's trademark blue-handled tools that gain notice, this time it's the commitment to safety with which they are being produced – and that's something Channellock, its employees and its customers can appreciate.