Lower Colorado Region earns Commissioner’s Safety Award

Written by: Fred Brown

Commissioner Brenda Burman presenting the Commissioner's Safety Award to Lower Colorado Region Regional Director Terry Fulp.
Commissioner Brenda Burman presenting the Commissioner's Safety Award to Lower Colorado Region Regional Director Terry Fulp.
Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman recently awarded the Lower Colorado Region this year’s Commissioner’s Safety Award. The award is presented annually to the region that makes the greatest progress toward improving the safety of their facilities and exemplifying Reclamation’s vision statement of “I Care About Safety”.

“We are extremely proud of the work the Lower Colorado Region has done to foster a safe work environment,” said Commissioner Burman. “The success of our safety program depends on every employee working together to embody the vision statement of “I Care About Safety”.

One thing that set the LC Region apart was their 2017 to 2022 strategic plan that put improving the safety culture of their region as a major goal.

“They have worked to develop specific facility safety plans for all facilities,” Monte Bowman, the Chief of Safety and Occupational Health for Reclamation said. “The maintenance department and drill crew have worked to redesign several of their tools to improve their ergonomics. The region also promoted wellness within the workforce by sending out a weekly wellness email.”

As good as these initiatives were, that’s not why they were awarded the Commissioner’s Safety Award. What really set them apart was the work the LC’s safety office put in to help other regions with various aspects of their own operations. The region has active members on the Reclamation Safety Advisory Board, the Authority Having Jurisdiction Committee and provided expert consultation on the “All Employee Safety Training”.

“The safety staff cannot be everywhere,” said Bowman. “We need every person within Reclamation to let us know that they and/or their co-workers are doing the right and safe thing. We want everyone to feel free to raise safety concerns to their management without fear of reprisal on any safety issue.”

During this past year, all five regions of Reclamation made numerous safety improvements including:

  • The Upper Colorado Region showed improvement in 88 percent of their facility assessments.
  • The Great Plains Region had several safety improvement projects including noise reduction in the Wyoming plants.
  • The Dakota Area Office had improved lighting installed started by an employee request and several other facilities conducted lead and asbestos removal projects to improve potential hazardous materials exposures.
  • The Pacific Northwest Region sponsored senior leadership training for union/management partnering on safety issues.

The work of these regions are all great examples of the improving safety climate and culture across Reclamation.

For more information on Reclamations’ Safety and Health Office, visit https://www.usbr.gov/safety

Published on August 03, 2018