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2012 Award Recipients

Innovation Award: Medium-sized Company

Evansville, Indiana's DSM Engineering Plastics Americas developed and implemented a number of innovative approaches to worker safety and health. The first, a machine safety risk tool develops a risk priority number and quantifies the inherent safety of the machine. The analysis is conducted by floor-level employees as well as representatives from various departments from within the company--including safety, maintenance, engineering and the site's laboratory. Each piece of machinery operating in the facility is placed on a five-year review plan. New equipment many not be placed into operation until the machine safety analysis and pre-startup safety review has been completed.

To keep safety at the forefront of employees' minds, DSM, has also implemented Life Saving Rules. These rules are bullet points posted in the facility that serve as a constant reminder of critical procedures without the layers of detail that may dilute the effort at the awareness level.

The company also hosted safety and health training sessions for more than 50 contracting firms that perform work at the company's site. The training was conducted to further enhance the safety and health of all employees involved.

Innovation Award: Large-sized Company

Employing a staff of more than 24,000, West Lafayette, Indiana's Purdue University, developed and implemented its Integrated Safety Plan (ISP). The ISP is a strategic plan for safety that was essentially developed to provide a structure to further promote employee involvement in workplace safety and health activities. Purdue's ISPA assists in the communication of environmental, health and safety issues across the organization, calling for department-level safety committees and regular individual self-audits for occupational safety and health compliance.

The university's Radiological and Environmental Management (REM) unit acts as an agent of Purdue's OSHA Compliance Officer to certify safety programs REM professionals assist departments with hazard assessments, reviews of the ISP self-audit checklists as well as providing other environmental, health and safety services. Minimum criteria must be met for a department to achieve certification from the REM unit--attendance at regular safety committee meetings, upper administrative support for safety, self-audits, etc.

Innovation Award: Construction

Turner Construction Company of Indiana, LLC, of Indianapolis Indiana, developed and implemented two key programs that continue to advance the safety and health of Hoosiers in the workplace. After careful review of worker injury and illness data, falls from heights were cited as the leading cause of worker injury resulting in a loss of work time. Work-related lifting, strains and overexertion also accounted for a large number of worker injuries.

This internal data analysis led the company to develop its "Ladders Last" policy. "Ladders Last" does not mean ladders never. If a ladder is determined to be the only method to perform a job at an elevation, a pre-task plan must be completed and a ladder permit must be obtained.

A separate Turner-developed program, "Nothing Hits the Ground," focuses on ensuring jobsite housekeeping is maintained by properly storing materials, discarding items as appropriate and requiring the use of cordless power tools. Tuner cites that the program has improved ergonomics, reduced laceration-related injuries, time and labor costs from double handling materials, improved client satisfaction and provided a clean area to maneuver other jobsite equipment.

Education & Outreach Award: Small-sized Company

Family-owned and operated since opening in South Bend, Indiana, in 1996, AbsorbTech, LLC, manufactures and dry cleans launderable absorbents, specifically designed to capture industrial solvents and oils. AbsorbTech employs 44 employees through its multi-state operation.

In September 2008, AbsorbTech, launched a new shop employee cross-training initiative branded, AbsorbU. The program provides the company's production employees one of the highest levels of job skill sets in the industry. Training includes safe equipment operation and process control measures. Employees are rewarded for achieving multiple operator skill set levels. Combined with the job safety analysis (JSA) that is conducted for each position, this helps ensure operators know how to safely operate industrial laundry equipment. Hands-on demonstrations have also been integrated into the curriculum. The company continues to look for other components to add to the AbsorbU curriculum.

Education & Outreach Award: Medium-sized Company

To recognize the achievement of two years without an OSHA-recordable injury, Tanners Creek Plant AEP/Indiana Michigan Power coordinated and hosted a "Safety Day" event. This event was centered around worker safety and health concerns, education and new and improved personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees. The site hosted educational and informative sessions on worker safety and health topics as well as provided opportunities for vendors to display the latest available safety equipment. Employees were eligible for drawings for PPE--which included safety glasses, goggles, gloves, etc. The event provided employees the opportunity to help select the PPE necessary to continue to strive for safety. The event further solidified the company's commitment to employee involvement in workplace safety and health.

Education & Outreach Award: Large-sized Company

Kendallville, Indiana's, Superior Essex, designs, manufactures and supplies wire and cable products primarily for the automotive industry. After a recent company safety meeting the safety team developed and implemented the site's Bold Evaluation of Safety Training (BEST) Report. The BEST Report is an updatable training tracking tools that was created as a way to monitor specific workplace safety and health training taken by employees. Through regular inputs of training, management can "BEST" determine if training gaps exist and take appropriate action to remedy these gaps.

While Superior Essex continues to make improvements to its BEST Report, the company has cited it as a dynamic training tracking tool. The BEST Report has been implemented by all other Superior Essex sites in the division.

Education & Outreach Award: Construction

Established in 1945, in Logansport, Indiana, Steinberger Construction, Inc., is paving the way for worker safety and health. The company was also recognized in 2007 and 2008 with a Governor's Workplace Safety Award.

After an internal analysis, the company focused its efforts to reduce and eliminate worker injuries in three critical areas. Given the high number of back strains and other soft tissue injuries employees experienced, the company developed a stretch and flex program for all field team members to complete each morning.

The company also launched a safe driver program to reduce on-the-job vehicle and equipment incidents by classifying workers based upon how much driving he or she does. The program and its various messages seek to provide safety reminders and recognize those employees that do not have an incident. The safe driver program was rolled out in the company's newsletter and toolbox talks.

Although temporary employees are a small percentage of the company's workforce, at one point, these workers accounted for 18% of Steinberger's occupational injuries and illnesses. The company's safety committee developed and implemented a program to address temporary worker safety and health. Today, the training program for these workers is led either by a supervisor or a member of the safety committee. After implementing this program, incidents involving temporary employees declined dramatically.

Education & Outreach Award: External

Located on the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, Tanners Creek Plant AEP/Indiana Michigan Power facility is a coal-fired power plant that employs more than 100 employees. The site also has a fire brigade team and chief.

The Tanners Creek Plant hosted a mock disaster--a truck delivery containing sulfuric acid. Incident "victims" varied from person to pet. The exercise was planned several months in advance to ensure the participation of all levels of community emergency response--local fire departments (both volunteer and career), EMS crews and the Greater Cincinnati Hazardous Materials Team. There were approximately 60-100 individuals involved with the mock disaster drill at some level. A "lessons learned" meeting was held at the local fire department following the drill. This mock disaster was used to identify areas where improvements could be made to help best ensure the safety and health of everyone--incident scene responders, employees and citizens who live in the local community.

Partnership Award

ConAgra's Rensselaer, Indiana Plant employs more than 200 employees engaged in the production of the company's microwave popcorn product. Historically, ConAgra's Rensselaer Plant has been a top performer for the company, and as such--it was selected as the lead site to embrace the Milliken methodology. Milliken Performance Solutions, is a manufacturer of textiles and chemicals, and has 44 VPP sites nationwide. The company worked with ConAgra's Rensselaer Plant to host boot camps and follow-up sessions to help fully develop and implement a similar system, called the ConAgra Performance System (CPS).

A goal of CPS was to transform environmental, health and safety from a top-driven program into an associate-owned process. This was achieved by developing and implementing associate-lead teams or pillars. The environmental, safety and health pillar teams were established based upon the occupational safety and health needs of the plant and included job safety analysis, ergonomics, incident investigation, hand safety, etc. The facility has noted remarkable associate empowerment and an atmosphere in which employees can share workplace safety and health ideas, concerns and proposed solutions.

In September 2011, ConAgra's Rensselaer Plant achieved one-million hours without an OSHA-recordable injury and five-million hours without a lost-time injury.