Worker-Safety Organization Honored for Support of Safety

New York group awarded for helping OSHA provide safety and health protection to government employees.

The U.S. Labor Department honored a volunteer group in Western New York who helps OSHA provide safety and health protection to government employees in the same way it does for private sector workers.

OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress presented the Western New York Federal Safety and Health Council with the Superior Performance award for its accomplishments in calendar year 1998.

"Government employees deserve a workplace free of safety and health hazards just as all other workers do," said Jeffress. "The Western New York Council deserves special recognition for its leadership in raising awareness of safety and health issues in the government workplace, and providing useful, even potentially live-saving, information to employees and their families."

Robert LeCastre, chairperson of the Western New York Council who accepted the award, said the organization covers a 10-county area, which encompasses more than 15,000 federal, state, county and municipal employees.

During 1998, the council organized quarterly meetings in which as many as 50 safety and health representatives received briefings on such topics as electrical safety, safe winter driving and principles of stress management.

"Strengthening the federal workplace as a safe, healthful place to work is just as big a challenge as in the private sector," said LeCastre. "We have laboratories. We even have the West Valley Demonstration Project, where a former nuclear fuel reprocessing plant is being decommissioned and decontaminated. So, working with OSHA and being able to effectively apply OSHA standards is extremely important. It's a good feeling to know OSHA thinks we are on the right track."

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