City lands SHARP award

Published 8:21 pm Friday, October 12, 2012

The City of Washington is the first-ever recipient of the N.C. Department of Labor’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program award in the public-sector category.
The award, presented by Labor Secretary Cherie Berry to the city during the City Council’s meeting Monday, recognizes the outstanding safety efforts and record by the city’s utilities department. SHARP’s goal is to reduce, if not eliminate injuries and work-related illnesses in the workplace.
When fully in place, SHARP will have four categories — public sector, general industry, logging and construction. The public-sector and general-industry categories are in place.
“I am so excited to be here this evening because this is the first SHARP public sector awarded in North Carolina, and I am so honored and proud to present it to you tonight,” Berry said.
“We are so honored to accept this on behalf of the city, and I’m so proud of our team for distinguishing Washington. The fact this is the first-ever (award) is fantastic,” said Mayor Archie Jennings.
The award has benefits, including lower workers’ compensation costs, free professional safety and health mentoring, exemption from programmed compliance inspections and employee involvement in keeping costs down and quality and productivity up in state and local agencies.
During her remarks, Berry noted that a father (city employee) and son were sitting in the audience.
“If you look at the father-and-son scene there, then you understand why safety and health are so very, very important,” Berry said. “It’s time make sure that all the workers in the state, whether they’re private or public sector, whenever they kiss their loved ones goodbye in the morning and go off to work, we all get up and get to work to make sure you get to go home and kiss him goodnight and tuck him in. That’s what this program is all about.”
Berry also noted the water-resources division of the city’s Public Works Department is about to record 10 straight years without a lost worktime accident. She specifically singled at Adam Waters, division director, for helping reach that achievement.
“That’s amazing. Congratulations,” she said.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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