On July 15, 2011 Zenith Insurance Company presented the Ecology Center with a Safety Award on “Outstanding Efforts in the Area of Employee Safety and Health.” This award is in recognition of the success, commitment and proactive effort toward employee safety demonstrated by the Ecology Center’s staff, management, and Board. For the 2010-2011 policy year, the Ecology Center experienced no reportable injuries and had no worker’s compensation claims. This is the first time in at least ten years that there were no injuries – a significant achievement considering the hazards of operating a recycling program and four outdoor farmers’ markets located in the busy streets and intersections of Berkeley and Albany.
We are exceptionally proud of this award as it not only means we have succeeded as an organization in improving our safety culture for employees, but that as a result we are making the streets safer for the our customers and clients as well.
Since 2008, a multi-pronged approach has been employed to increase safety awareness and promote a sense of responsibility among employees to create and maintain a safe workplace. Frequent safety training, improved safety policy enforcement and modified work policies, along with increased hazard mitigation have been the major drivers behind this accomplishment. Employee engagement and ongoing support from the Board and management has led to a team approach to safety and a resulting decrease in both the severity and frequency of injuries. Our workers compensation claims fell from a high of eight in 2006 to one in 2010 and finally, zero in 2011.
According to Corliss Heidelbach, Safety and Health Manager for Zenith, “(The Ecology Center’s) success has been because safety is truly integrated into your company’s day to day performance. It is a critical component of your operations, work practices, employee training and claims management. Upper management’s allocated resources to safety, focused approach and leading by example have emanated to the employees so they are very much involved in promoting and practicing safety. It is part of your culture and not a silo running parallel to production.”
We could not have achieved this level of success without the strong partnership we have enjoyed with our workers compensation insurance carrier. Zenith has devoted considerable resources to assist the Ecology Center in conducting safety trainings, identifying hazards, and increasing accountability for safety among employees. This is only the second time in five years that Zenith has issued an award of this type. They explained that the Zenith only rarely gives such awards in recognition of dramatic achievements such as that of the Ecology Center. This makes receipt of the award that much more gratifying. Thanks to all of our program managers, staff, and recycling crew for making this goal a reality, and congratulations to Recycling Director Daniel Maher, Executive Director Martin Bourque, and Deputy Director Debbie Beyea for leading the way!