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Indiana Department of Labor

DOL > Recognizing Excellence > Commissioner's Award of Excellence Commissioner's Award of Excellence

The Commissioner’s Award of Excellence in Hoosier Occupational Safety and Health was created in 2013 to recognize and honor employers, employees, organizations, industry professionals and many others who truly make significant strides in advancing the safety, health and prosperity of Hoosiers in the workplace.   

From front-line employees to managers and owners, to human resource professionals, to trainers and consultants and many more, we work to ensure all Hoosiers stay safe and healthy while on the job. Workplace safety and health is not only beneficial for the workers who go home to their families safe and sound each day, but it is smart business too. When workplaces are safe and healthy, workers are more productive, have higher morale and are absent from work less often. Moreover, employers have reduced employee turnover as well as reduced worker's compensation costs and lower insurance premiums.

2013 Commissioner's Award of Excellence Recipients


On September 17, 2013, Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Sean M. Keefer recognized current agency employee, Joe Black, with a Commissioner’s Award of Excellence. Mr. Black has served the Indiana Department of Labor with distinction for 30 years. He currently serves as the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Program Coordinator. His responsibilities include providing support for the collection of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) and the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) as well as serving as liaison between the agency and BLS Region V. Joe’s years of dedicated service have lead state’s throughout the nation to view him as an invaluable resource for statistical data. 

The staff of Indiana Department of Labor’s Quality, Metrics and Statistics (QMS) division annually work with more than 5,000 Hoosier employers to collect and code data for the BLS SOII. The data is reviewed and compiled to provide an estimate of the non-fatal occupational injury and illness rates for industries in the state. The CFOI includes work-related fatalities resulting from unintentional and intentional injuries. CFOI uses multiple data sources to identify, document and verify work-related injury deaths. On an annual basis, thousands of documents including death certificates are reviewed by the QMS division staff. Mr. Black helps lead these collection efforts so the IDOL can better target high risk industries. Mr. Black’s efforts through the years have helped keep the IDOL focused on saving Hoosier lives and we thank him for his tireless efforts to focus us in the most appropriate areas.

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Dave Murphy has been with Pepper Construction Company of Indiana, LLC for 27 years. His responsibilities include the management of the company safety program for all projects, human resources, diversity, leadership, training and mentoring. He is actively involved in the construction industry as the chair of the Safety Steering Committee for the Indiana Construction Association and regularly participates as a guest speaker for industry events.

Mr. Murphy currently serves as the Chair of the Safety Steering Committee at ICA. Mr. Murphy has help launch new initiatives to inspire support and participation in the IDOL/ICA partnership by forming and leading the Partnership Enhancement Subcommittee. Mr. Murphy has sought more than compliance from partnership members. He has fostered a commitment to ongoing improvement for each member company. Mr. Murphy has also led a relationship-based safety support network, which was created to provide each partner member with the tools to improve their safety programs and a network of highly-experienced, highly-skilled safety professionals who reach out and help each other on a personal and professional level.

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Mr. Paul Lee currently serves as the Manager in Construction Services in the Global Facilities Delivery Unit for Eli Lilly and Company. In addition to his work for Eli Lilly, Mr. Lee has actively participated in the Metro Indianapolis Coalition for Construction Safety (MICCS) since the early years of the association. He has taken on a variety of leadership roles and responsibilities in MICCS, including serving as the chairperson for the Certification Committee. Mr. Lee was instrumental in establishing the Indiana Department of Labor/MICCS partnership, a program to recognize organizations who meet certain safety and health criteria. The program has grown from 13 partners since inception to nearly 70 companies today. The Indiana Department of Labor would like to congratulate Mr. Lee and thank him for his dedication in advancing the safety, health and prosperity of Hoosiers in the workplace.

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On May 24, 2013, Commissioner of Labor Sean M. Keefer presented the Commissioner's Award of Excellence to Eric J. Ward, a master's degree candidate in the Purdue School of Health Sciences from Plymouth, IN. Mr. Ward developed vest prototypes that could help health and safety inspectors carry their testing equipment more easily and improve ease of using it on the job. Workers can put on the vests by themselves and Velcro straps hold the testing equipment's wires or tubing in place. Counterweights in the front of the vest ensure the equipment located on the back does not pull the vest backward. Mr. Ward has self-funded the development of three vest prototypes he made after returning from a 2012 summer internship. Prototypes of Mr. Ward's designs have been tested by industrial hygiene students at Purdue, and additional tests are in the works with private companies and government agencies in Indiana and Ohio. Mr. Ward will also make a presentation about his vests in Montreal, Quebec, Canada at the 2013 American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Exposition for occupational and environmental health and safety professionals.

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Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Labor Sean M. Keefer presented the first Commissioner's Award of Excellence on Wednesday, March 20, 2013, to Ms. Traci Hardin. Ms. Hardin serves as the Vice President of Safety & Compliance for Fishers-based Meyer Najem Construction, LLC. As the Vice President of Safety & Compliance for Meyer Najem, Ms. Hardin's responsibilities include the management of the company safety program for all projects, human resources, diversity, leadership, training and mentoring. Ms. Hardin is actively involved with the construction industry through the Metro Indianapolis Coalition of Construction Safety (MICCS)–Co-chair MICCS Educational Outreach Committee, Associated Builders and Contractors of Indiana (ABC)–Safety Committee Member, and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), Indianapolis (Past Chapter President), the American Society of Safety Engineers and the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). Ms. Hardin also oversees Meyer Najem's participation in the MICCS Certified Partner/Indiana Department of Labor Partnership and the ABC STEP/Indiana Department of Labor Partnership (ABC STEP Diamond Level Partner).

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