Pennsylvania honors 6 employers for safety excellence

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell on October 15 applauded six employers for earning the 2007 Governor's Award for Safety Excellence.

"These recipients truly represent the commitment we all must have to ensuring that workers begin and end each workday in the same way – safely," Governor Rendell said. "Their outstanding efforts and achievements show what is possible when the commonwealth's employers, employees and unions work together through safety- and health-awareness programs to improve the safety of Pennsylvania's workplaces."

"We continue to see success in increasing the number of employees covered by state certified workplace safety committees in Pennsylvania," Labor & Industry Secretary Stephen M. Schmerin said as he presented the awards during the Governor's Occupational Safety and Health Conference.

"We celebrated a record earlier this year when 1 million workers became covered by more than 7,300 certified workplace safety committee programs," Schmerin said. "In addition to enhancing the well-being of their workers, these businesses have also enhanced the well-being of their bottom line to the tune of more than $270 million through the 5 percent discount they receive annually on workers' compensation insurance premiums. And, we will continue working to help businesses establish safety committees that reduce health care costs and protect workers."

The two-day health and safety conference draws more than 1,100 safety and health care professionals, business leaders, workers, educators and government leaders from across Pennsylvania. The conference provides a forum to discuss the importance of workplace safety and exchange knowledge of safe working practices.

The 2007 Governor's Award for Safety Excellence recipients are:

Allegheny County: The SMG/David L. Lawrence Convention Center offers acres of indoor exhibit and meeting space in the heart of Pittsburgh. Since 2006, the center has had zero lost-time days and it has reduced recordable injuries by two-thirds since 2005. The center employs 445 workers, 418 of whom are represented by the following unions: Pittsburgh Building & Trades Council; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers locals 5 & 385; Carpenters locals 211 & 230; Steamfitters Local 449; Plumbers Local 27; Security Local 86; Teamsters Local 249; and Construction General Laborers & Material Handlers Local 1058.

Clearfield County: Christ the King Manor is a service of Catholic Charities providing assisted living and nursing home care in the Dubois area. Employing around 300 workers, the manor's accident and illness prevention efforts include a full array of safety programs and procedures, including lifting and transfer policies and training, pre-employment physicals, new hire safety orientation, mandatory in-service safety training, and employee functional capacity evaluations for injured employees. Since 2003, Christ the King Manor's injury rates have declined by 90 percent.

Columbia County: Rieter Automotive North America manufactures automobile carpet and flooring for General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan and Toyota in its Bloomsburg plant. Since 2004, the company has had a 65 percent reduction in workers' compensation costs. In addition, an online system was implemented for suggestions in 2003 and, as of May, more than 600 employee safety suggestions have been implemented. In 2006, a joint union and management wellness committee was formed to encourage healthy living on and off the job. Reiter employs 600 workers at its Bloomsburg plant; 450 of whom are represented by UNITE Local 1700.

Erie County: The Erie City Water Authority-Erie Water Works operates two complete water filtration plants and pumping stations that serve more than 52,000 customers and 200,000 people daily. Since 2000, the company's reportable injuries have dropped 80 percent and, since 2004, it has gone more than 800 days without a lost-time injury. The water works also has a CPR and first aid program with five certified trainers and approximately half of its staff trained in CPR, first aid and automated external defibrillators. The water works employs 110 workers; 83 of whom are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2206; and the General Teamsters Local 397.

Lancaster County: Stauffers of Kissel Hill is a retail distributor of food and garden merchandise that has had a state certified safety committee in place since 1999. The committee meets monthly to discuss safety concerns and objectives, review accident reports and safety inspections, receive training on new safety topics and to conduct facility safety inspections. In just one year, from 2005 to 2006, Stauffers had a 48 percent drop in workers' compensation costs and a 30 percent decrease in federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration cases. Stauffers employs more than 850 workers.

Mifflin County: Marlette Homes is a manufacturer of mobile homes and has had a state certified workplace safety committee in place since 2004. As part of the company's accident prevention activities, team leaders conduct weekly safety inspections and members of the safety committee do a quarterly inspection of the entire plant. Since implementing the company's certified safety program, it has reduced workers' compensation costs by 90 percent and, as of August, Marlette has worked 1.25 million hours and more than 1,000 days without a lost-time accident. Marlette employs 205 workers.

The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit his Web site at:

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