The CEE technical team, which includes Rick Burch, Bob Fischer, Jan Pantolin, Bob Spence and Tom Yavaraski, recently won the Safety First Recognition Award from the Occupational Safety & Environmental Health (OSEH) department at U-M.
This award celebrates U-M employees who excel in creating and maintaining a safe workplace. The criteria considered for the award includes an outstanding in-house safety program, an active role in safety, consistency in maintaining an outstanding safety program over a number of years and more. Knowing that the technicians met all of the criteria, CEE Unit Administrator Patricia Brainard nominated the team for the award.
In terms of maintaining an outstanding safety program over a number of years, Brainard made note of the fact that most of the technical staff at CEE have been keeping the department safe for well over 20 years. This consistency in quality personnel has led to a good record of safety over time as well as a solid foundation for improvements when necessary.
All five technicians take an active role in safety and are strong advocates for safety conscious procedures, policies or guidelines. This includes proper labeling, stocking, addressing electrical issues and modifying hygiene plans.
The entire team leads department safety drills, such as severe weather or fire drills. To prepare for these situations, the technicians made an extensive push to register more people with the University’s emergency text and phone alert system. They also talk to faculty and staff about the need to emphasize safety with students, and remember that it is all of our responsibilities to look out for each other.
Some of their efforts in recent years include planning for digitization of CEE standard operating guides and other safety plans, and developing a safety-related web page for the department.
The team improves the awareness of safety throughout the CEE community – including visitors, students, faculty and fellow staff members. One example of this is their significant involvement in the ergonomic upgrades made throughout the department over the past few years. They have assisted in the preparation of three ergonomic grant applications which have led to the department purchasing a scissor lift, a lift table and ergonomic furniture such as desks, files and chairs.
As noted in the examples above, the team has broadly implemented safety throughout the workplace, is active in advocating for safety, makes improvements whenever possible, and is consistent in their efforts over time to keep the CEE community safe.