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PA Lt. Gov. Schweiker Presents Safety Award To Offset Paperback Manufacturers Inc.

DALLAS, Pa., Aug. 23 /PRNewswire/ --

On behalf of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker today presented the Governor's Award for Safety Excellence to Offset Paperback Manufacturers Inc., and workers represented by Offset Paperback and Graphic Communication International Union Local 137-C.

"The safety accomplishments at Offset Paperback have reduced lost-day accidents by 90 percent in the past decade," Lt. Gov. Schweiker said. "This is a great example of worker/management cooperation making a real and lasting difference in our workplaces -- and our lives.

"And there is no doubt that safety is a key factor in Pennsylvania's leadership in the New Economy."

The Governor's Award for Safety Excellence is a key element of Gov. Ridge's PENNSAFE, Pennsylvania Safety First, workplace-safety initiative. This effort includes outreach to Pennsylvania employers and employees, technical assistance, and recognition of successful workplace-safety programs through the Governor's award.

Lt. Gov. Schweiker noted that participation in the PENNSAFE program has been overwhelming. Since the program began in 1996, the number of joint worker-management workplace-safety committees has increased from 400 to more than 4,100 committees covering more than 570,000 employees.

"Even though more Pennsylvanians are working than ever before, workplace fatalities are at their lowest level ever," Lt. Gov. Schweiker said. "I'm proud to say that, under the Ridge Administration, workplace injuries have dropped 30 percent since 1995 -- to the lowest point in nearly four decades."

At the Offset Paperback plant in Dallas, all manufacturing employees are required to attend monthly safety-training sessions. These sessions include both OSHA-required and Offset Paperback Manufacturing specific training programs. Training topics include hand safety, ergonomics, hazard communications, and fire-extinguisher use and care.

As a result, OSHA's (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) recordable accidents for all employees have been reduced by 86 percent in the past 10 years, and safety savings are re-invested in safety-related improvements, training and competitive technology.

"As a result of this safety awareness, the press text afternoon shift has gone three-and-one-half years without a recordable accident," Lt. Gov. Schweiker said.

"The company's success is due to the employees' commitment to safety, and management's commitment to providing the safest work environment possible."

The company and union provide three safety committees, with a safety committee on the manufacturing floor during each shift.

Offset Paperback Manufacturers Inc. is one of the largest paperback book manufacturers in the world, producing more than 1.3 million paperback books per day of operation. The company also provides world-class printing and is expanding into distribution and fulfillment services. Recently, Offset Paperback Manufacturers installed technology that allows them to produce any number of copies, from one book and up, at a profit.

Lt. Gov. Schweiker was joined for the presentation by Mike Gallagher, president and CEO; Dale Williams, manager of Quality Safety and Health; shift safety committee chairmen and members; and Bernadette Heckman, executive director of the Governor's PENNSAFE workplace-safety program.

CONTACT: Dave Hixson of the Pennsylvania Office of the Lieutenant Governor, 717-787-3300; or Scott Burkett of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, 717-787-7530, or press@dli.state.pa.us.
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Date:Aug 23, 2000
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