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Pence gives safety awards during local visit

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Gov. Mike Pence visited Jackson County on Friday for the first time since taking office to honor three area businesses for their safety records.

The Cummins Inc. Seymour Engine Plant, Aisin Drivetrain Inc. and Marmon Retail Home Improvement Products of Crothersville received the Governor’s Workplace Safety Awards last month from Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann and Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner Sean M. Keefer.

Pence visited with officials from those companies during a tour Friday at Seymour Engine Plant.

“I have often stated it’s my ambition Indiana be known as the state that works,” Pence said to Cummins employees and representatives from Aisin and Marmon. “In Indiana, since virtually the inception of our state, we have done two things very well — we make things and we grow things. But in order for Indiana to be the state that works, we’ve got to be the state that works safely.”

The businesses were among eight in the state recognized for advancing occupational safety and health in their industries.

Marmon Retail Home Improvement Products, formerly CerroWire, was recognized for the company’s outreach after the March 2, 2012, tornadoes in southern Indiana.

Employees helped send supplies while the company donated trash bins, work gloves, flashlights and batteries, generators, extension cords and safety equipment. The company also raised money and organized a crew of volunteers to help with the recovery effort.

Marmon human resource manager Pam Colwell said the company has a community service involvement team that works on projects such as the relief effort in Henryville.

“We strive to be a good neighbor to our community as well as surrounding communities in need,” she said. “Earning this award gives our team members a sense of pride in their jobs, and it improves employee morale.”

Colwell said everyone at the business works together to solve safety issues before they become accidents.

“The company strives each day to send everyone home in a healthy body so they can continue to make a good living for their family,” she said.

Aisin Drivetrain received recognition for its focus on workplace safety and health through employee involvement. Employees of Aisin are encouraged to directly suggest any improvement potentially leading to greater safety.

Recently, 77 employee safety and health improvement suggestions were made to improve the system. Aisin’s level of involvement has led to a health and safety record better than others in the industry, the state said.

The business has had no OSHA-recordable cases including days away from work and no job restrictions or transfers in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Aisin safety and environmental engineer Robbie Combs said the company has always focused on health but recently started a new project to enhance safe training and participation.

“It’s nice to be recognized for all the effort employees put forth,” he said. “We’re always trying new things to keep up a safe working place.”

The Seymour branch of Cummins was recognized for its innovations in workplace safety.

A Safety Empowerment Card system was created recently allowing anyone to stop an action or process that might be unsafe. Employees, contractors and even visitors have the authority and responsibility to stop, correct and report any unsafe act or condition witnessed throughout the plant.

Cummins Seymour Engine Plant manager Darren Wildman said the award is acknowledgement for the employees’ dedication to safety.

“The work they do everyday is recognized and is not only important to the state (but also) to the country,” Wildman said.

The governor’s brother, Ed Pence, oversees the Seymour Engine Plant as the leader of Cummins’ high-horsepower diesel business centered in Seymour.

The awards initially were presented to companies at the 2013 Indiana Safety and Health Conference and Expo in Indianapolis last month.

“Dedication to a safe work environment should be an absolute goal of every Indiana employer,” Ellspermann said. “I commend our award winners for successfully implementing significant health and safety practices.”

About the awards

The annual Governor’s Workplace Safety Awards are a result of a partnership among Indiana Department of Labor, on behalf of Gov. Mike Pence, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Central Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

The award provides recognition for companies based on best practices for eliminating workplace injuries and illnesses and salutes organizations that make safety and health a top priority.

The Governor’s Workplace Safety Awards are open to all organizations, regardless of size or number of workers. All Hoosier businesses, unions, municipalities, schools, service organizations, nonprofit organizations or individuals are eligible to apply for the awards.

To qualify, a company must be deemed to be free of compliance disputes concerning all applicable local, state and federal statutes and regulations.

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