Today, Salt Lake City Corporation was honored with the “Achievement in Safety by an Organization” award by the Utah Safety Council. The award is presented annually to one organization in the state for outstanding achievement in safety programs and for overall concern for the safety of Utah citizens.
In addition, the city’s Department of Airports, and the separate divisions of Sanitation, Streets, and Parks, received the “Occupational Seat Belt Award” for their meticulous efforts to promote seat belt use, which resulted in 100-percent seat belt use for all employees who operate motor vehicles on the job.
The non-profit Utah Safety Council, a chapter of the National Safety Council, represents nearly 900 private companies, municipalities, and organizations, including Salt Lake City. Mayor Jackie Biskupski and honored city employees attended the Council’s annual Safety Awards Luncheon at Little America Hotel.
“Safety is our top priority for the dedicated employees who keep our city running every day,” Mayor Biskupski said. “Salt Lake City’s proactive approach educates and engages people to work together to prevent accidents and to build a safer work environment. This commitment is resulting in major cost savings for the city, too.”
The city was recognized in part for its dramatic improvement in worker safety. In Fiscal Year 2014-15 workplace injuries and accidents cost the city $334,000. In FY 2015-16, those costs were cut to $74,000. Workplace accidents and injuries were reduced by 25 percent, said Salt Lake City Safety Manager Lowell Finney.
“This means we not only reduced injuries, but the ones we did incur were less serious and required shorter recovery times and time off for employees,” Lowell said.
“Safety and safety training are my passion,” he said. “We have an executive safety committee of 12 employees from city divisions that meets monthly, and they take safety information back to share with their workplace. Our employees are buying into this effort as a team, not simply as a mandate.”
As of June 30th, Salt Lake City Corporation employed 3,316 full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers. More than 900 of these employees engage in work requiring heavy machinery, or use city-owned vehicles to perform their jobs—most of them in the departments of Public Services, Airports, Public Utilities, and Sustainability.
“Salt Lake City is a fantastic example of an organization incorporating safety messages into daily activities. Employee and workplace safety is a clear priority,” said Utah Safety Council President Rod Hamson.
Other notable safety improvements in Salt Lake City over the past year include:
- Employee seat belt use went from 50 percent to 100 percent, reaching full compliance with city policy requiring all employees to wear seat belts while on city business.
- The addition of three new instructors increased the numbers of employees certified in forklift certification. All forklift operators attend yearly training.
- A four-hour defensive driving course became mandatory for all Public Services employees. The course is required every three years. Immediate retraining is required for employees who cause a motor vehicle accident on the job.
- More than 60 city employees have been trained in first aid and CPR with the addition of two new instructors. More than 90 employees are registered for the training this fiscal year.
- The city secured a $9,000 grant from the Utah Industrial Commission to convert safety training orientations into Spanish for Latino workers.