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May 1, 2014
For Immediate Release: May 1, 2014
Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Department of Labor, 207-621-5009; Ted Talbot, Department of Transportation, 207-624-3030
Safety and Health Award for Public Employers awarded for high standards of workplace safety
DIXFIELD—Maine Department of Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette and Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt have announced that DOT Region 3 has earned the Safety and Health Award for Public Employers (SHAPE).
“I am proud of DOT’s employees’ achievement in earning this award,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Keeping state workers safe is important for employee morale and for the quality of life for our workers and their families. I encourage all state agencies to make the wise investment in workplace safety. This is an investment that benefits all Maine people.”
Region 3 covers western Maine. Both commissioners will be on hand to present the award on May 2 at 1 p.m. at the region’s headquarters in Dixfield.
Although five municipalities as a whole and 38 individual county and municipal worksites, such as water districts, fire departments and public works departments, currently hold SHAPE certification, this is the first state agency to earn this award. This award brings the total of SHAPE worksites in the state to 44.
Commissioner Paquette emphasized, “MaineDOT’s achievement is particularly significant because of the nature of their work and the types of challenging environments and equipment they use.”
“SHAPE status helps keep workers safe on the job by reducing workplace injuries, which, in turn, decreases workers’ compensation claims and costs,” Paquette added. “In addition to keeping employees healthy and whole, this program saves taxpayers thousands of dollars a year. SHAPE employers, and their private-sector counterparts, are industry leaders in workplace safety. We congratulate all the employees in Region 3.”
Commissioner Bernhardt stated, “I am proud of MaineDOT’s Maintenance and Operations Bureau Region 3 for being the first state agency to earn SHAPE certification. This signifies the true commitment of the region manager, Norman Hagan and his entire staff. His region has had an active and vibrant wellness committee for nearly a decade and will hold its sixth annual Wellness Fair for employees this year.”
He added, “It is MaineDOT’s intention and goal to systematically bring this level of safety and wellness to each region and office so the entire Maintenance and Operations Bureau is in the SHAPE program.”
SHAPE certification recognizes public-sector organizations that voluntary undertake a rigorous safety achievement program for their workers. The SHAPE award was originally conceived in 2005 as a way to recognize public-sector employers and employees who are striving to provide a safe and healthful workplace. It is given only to exemplary public-sector employers after a thorough review and inspection of the employer’s safety and health policies and procedures by a SafetyWorks! consultant in the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Standards.
More information about SHAPE is available at http://www.safetyworksmaine.com/safe_workplace/shape.html .