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Region 5 News Release V-229
May 15, 2003
Contact: Brad Mitchell
For Innovative Workplace Safety And Health Practices
Businesses in Peoria, Paris, Champaign and Springfield Dedicated to Protecting Workers
PEORIA, Ill. -- Businesses from Champaign, Paris, Peoria and Springfield, Ill. have taken top honors in the first annual "Z Project" awards for innovative workplace safety and health practices and concepts developed by private sector employers in 81 of Illinois' 102 counties, the Labor Department announced today.
Named after OSHA's Peoria area office director, Peggy Zweber, the Z Project encourages Central and Southern Illinois employers to eliminate and control hazards. The awards were presented at a conference earlier this month.
"We originated this project in our office to provide leadership in the dialog on safety and health in the workplace, one of OSHA's top priorities," says Zweber. "The Z Project Conference allows local employers and OSHA a forum to share methods that have been successful in controlling hazards," she notes, giving credit to Compliance Assistance Specialist Brian Bothast for putting the conference together.
This year's awards were presented in four categories. The Lifesaver Award, presented for a control that could save a life, was given to Arkay Plastics, Paris, Ill., for a fall protection system the company and workers developed to reach resin hoppers that are 15 to 20 feet off the ground.
Mel-O-Cream Donuts International, Inc., Springfield, Ill., received the Pluto Award for a concept that is unusual and innovative. The Springfield company designed and is using an innovative database system that allows identification of hazards throughout the workplace, ensures employee involvement, and assists in prioritizing hazards and managing implementation of controls.
The Alveoli Protection Award for a control that improves air quality was presented to P.J. Hoerr Construction Co., Peoria, for a unique and inexpensive quick fix to provide a water spray for an employee cutting concrete blocks, thus protecting him from silica overexposure.
Highest honors, the Z Project Award, went to Advanced Filtration Systems, Inc., Champaign, Ill. for the introduction of robotics to assist in the handling, movement and assembly of filter systems for employees inspecting product. This innovative hazard control greatly decreased potential risks associated with musculoskeletal disorders, or ergonomic related injuries.
"We're delighted with the first year results of the Z Project," Zweber 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 employers to include their workers in the process of problem solving."
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov/ebsa. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7773 or TTY (202) 693-3911.
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