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OSHA News Release
Region 5

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Region 5 News Release: 06-825-CHI
Tuesday, May 9, 2006
Contact: Brad Mitchell
Phone: 312-353-6976

OSHA Honors Downstate Illinois Firms for Proactive Workplace Safety and Health Practices
Businesses in Champaign, Robinson, Vandalia, and Stonington Dedicated to Protecting Workers

PEORIA, Ill. -- Four businesses in Illinois have taken top honors in the fourth annual "Z Project" awards for workplace safety and health practices and concepts, the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced today.

The Peoria OSHA Area Office developed the Z Project to encourage central and southern Illinois employers to eliminate and control hazards and improve their safety and health programs. Employers in 81 of Illinois' 102 counties participate in the project.

This year's awards were presented in four categories. The Lifesaver Award, presented for a control that could save a life, was given to the Marathon Petroleum, of Robinson, for improving its fall protection throughout its Gasoline Desulfurization Unit (GDU), installing fixed stairways, permanent fall arrest systems and catwalks between adjacent vessels.

The highest honor, the Area Director Choice Award, went to the Monsanto Company, Agricultural Sector, of Stonington, for their Mechanical Bag Opener, a guarded rotozip tool under a conveyor system. This project reduced the potential of repetitive motion injuries, eliminated knife cut injuries, contributed to a 33% reduction in labor for the operation and a 25% time savings, all for the cost of about $100.

Graham Packaging received the Pluto Award for a concept that is unusual and innovative. This Vandalia company had a high traffic industrial truck and pedestrian crossing area. An employee driven safety team developed an idea to have a motion sensor gate to stop industrial trucks at the busy intersection and allow time for pedestrians to cross safely.

The Alveoli Protection Award for a health control was presented to Advanced Filtration Systems Inc. of Champaign for its installation of a dry ice blaster booth for cleaning machine parts. This dedicated containment booth reduced noise levels for the operation below 85 dBA and limited carbon dioxide exposure by providing fresh air ventilation systems. CO2 alarms were also installed in the booth to ensure employee safety.

"We're delighted with this year's results of the Z Project," Peoria OSHA Area Director John Newquist said. "Comments we received from participants tell us we're on the right track, not only challenging employers to be proactive on workplace safety and health issues, but also encouraging them to include their workers in the process of problem solving."

The Z Project Conference allows local employers and OSHA a forum to share methods that have been successful in controlling hazards and provides leadership in the dialog on safety and health in the workplace. The project was named after a former Peoria Area Director.

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