Those who combine unconventional methods and old-fashioned hard work to advance workplace safety were honored today as the winners of Occupational Hazards magazine''s sixth annual Champions of Safety contest.
Ron Hayes of The FIGHT Project in Fairhope, Ala., and the employees of Hazleton Pumps in Hazleton, Pa., received their awards for this year''s contest at a luncheon in Orlando, Fla., during the National Safety Council''s Congress & Exposition.
Champions of Safety is the magazine''s annual contest recognizing companies and individuals for superior achievement in occupational safety and health.
Ron Hayes started The Fight (Families in Grief Hold Together) Project in 1996 to remember his son, Patrick, who died in 1993 in a grain bin accident, and to help families who lost loved ones to workplace accidents.
In addition to helping grieving families find out information about how and why family members died, Hayes has convinced OSHA to revise its grain handling facilities regulation; expand from one page to five pages its fatality letter, which bereaved families receive from the agency to explain the investigation process; appoint a family liaison to work with grieving families; and develop and provide sensitivity classes to OSHA inspectors.
The employees of Hazleton Pumps designed and implemented their own environmental, safety and health (EHS) program without the aid of a full-time EHS professional, which is considered rare.
The result has been OSHA injury and illness rates as low as one-fifth of the industry average, which occurred in 1999.
The plant was named an OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star site in 2000, the first iron and steel foundry in the United States to receive the honor that recognizes worksites that have achieved and are maintaining excellence in worker safety and health protection through cooperation among labor, management and government.
Complete stories on this year''s winners will be available next month on www.occupationalhazards.com.
by Virginia Sutcliffe