Cherie Berry, North Carolina’s commissioner of labor, will be in Mount Airy later this month as part of the city government’s continued involvement in a state program to reduce workplace injuries.
Berry is scheduled to appear at an invitation-only event here on Aug. 17 when she will present city representatives with the N.C. Department of Labor’s Public Sector Star Recertification designation. This will recognize Mount Airy’s latest safety achievements in an effort it has been involved with for about 16 years.
In October 1996, Mount Airy became the first municipality in the United States to attain the “Star” designation under the labor department program. It was established to promote excellence in safety and health programs among both public and private employees in North Carolina.
The city since has become recertified in three-year intervals, in 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009, and recently completed the process for 2012 for continued participation in the Public Sector Star Program.
City Manager Barbara Jones said the local government unit’s workplace-safety record is due to a team effort.
“I certainly want to recognize our city employees, who have led the charge and continue to guide our safety programs with great success,” Jones commented.
“I also want to recognize our mayor, Deborah Cochran, and our board of commissioners for their support of our safety program.”
The most-recent evaluation leading to the recertification focused on two primary statistics used to measure safety.
One is the Total Recordable Case (TRC) rate. It is equal to the number of recordable cases (injuries and illnesses as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) weighed against other factors including the total number of hours worked by all employees.
The other is the Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) Case Rate, which examines the total number of cases with work days missed, work that occurs with restrictions or where transfers were necessary to continue employment as a result of an on-the-job injury/illness.
Mount Airy’s three-year average TRC rate for 2009-2011 was 4.07, or 8 percent below a baseline level for the city of 4.44 cases.
The municipality’s DART rate for the same period was 1.45, or 59 percent below its baseline rate of 3.55. Its TRC and DART cases and rates both decreased slightly from 2010 to 2011.
Mount Airy further scored 141 out of a possible 174 points for an overall score of 81 percent on a Star Program Safety and Health Program Evaluation worksheet, which exceeded a minimum evaluation score of 65 percent for public sector participants.
The city government further has implemented extra safety policies to continue to improve best practices. Also, a total of 65 formal and informal employee interviews were conducted during the evaluation process.
“To be recertified reinforces the fact that we are committed to working together to keep our employees safe and to provide a safe workplace,” Jones continued.
“Our employees are important and are dedicated to performing their jobs safely and efficiently.” The city manager mentioned that the receiving of the safety recognition represents a “proud day” for Mount Airy.
The Aug. 17, invitation-only ceremony featuring the state labor commissioner will honor all city employees for their dedication and commitment to safety.
It is scheduled at Blackmon Amphitheatre.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.