06/15/05 — City recognized for safety record

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City recognized for safety record

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on June 15, 2005 1:45 PM

Goldsboro city officials recently got some news that made them want to pat their employees on the back.

Not too hard, though, and only after making sure the floor wasn't slippery.

Earlier this month, the N.C. Department of Labor honored 21 of the city's departments for having accident rates less than half of what was expected. That number of winners was unprecedented for the city.

Also, since 2002, the city has cut by a third the total annual number of accidents with injury.

"I want to praise our human resources department," said Mayor Al King, once the city's personnel director. "I know what a long process it has been and what these awards mean."

The city has had a safety program since the 1980s to deal with increasingly stringent regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said safety training coordinator Kevin Adkins. OSHA oversee workplace safety in both the private and public sector.

The city's safety committee reviews all accidents involving city employees, whether or not they are believed to be at fault, and makes recommendations to avoid repetition, Adkins said.

The city also inspects workplaces for safety hazards and provides worker training.

Training can be as simple as reminding waste handlers to wear gloves and eye protectors or making sure office workers don't leave desk drawers sticking out where someone can run into them, he said.

In the last three years, the city has gone from having around 40 accidents that had to be reported to OSHA to about 25 last year, he said. Not all of those accidents caused serious damage or any loss of work time.

The N.C. Department of Labor uses formulas to estimate how many accidents or injuries that, say, a fire station might have in a year. Departments must have half or less of that number to qualify for a Safety Award, Adkins said.

Before this year, the city's best showing was 16 departments honored.

The city departments that were added to the list this year were recreation and parks, maintenance, the water plant, the water reclamation facility, Fire Station #3, Fire Station #5, the city garage, the leaf and limbs crew, and the composting facility.

Safety Awards were also given to these repeat winners: Second year, Fire Station #2, the storm maintenance division; third year, general services, Fire Station #4, police investigative services bureau, the golf course; fourth year, engineering, street maintenance; fifth year, general government, inspections; sixth year, planning and community development; seventh year, finance.