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* News Release *
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
For Immediate Release

Ohio Utilities Protection Service Recognizes Major Accomplishment

The Butler County Engineer's Office has received two significant awards for outstanding safety practices, adding to a collection of similar awards and emphasizing the organization's strong focus on work place safety.

The Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS) issued a special award to the Engineer's Office for going two straight years without damaging or cutting any underground utilities. A utility cut is defined as any damage to existing underground utilities during construction and excavation. This includes gas mains, electric lines, water mains, cable TV, and telephone lines.

"With the number of crews we have in the field and high levels of construction activity in Butler County, that's an amazing record," said Jerry Garrett, BCEO Utilities and Safety Manager. "OUPS told us that they've never had anyone go two years without a utility cut. So we're very proud of our accomplishment."

County Engineer Greg Wilkens accepted the award on behalf of the BCEO Safety Committee, a group of employees who develop policies and procedures for safety in the work place and at construction sites. "Jerry and all of our crews and supervisors are to be commended," Wilkens emphasized. "These are people who make safety a top priority every day in what can be a high risk environment. As County Engineer, it is an honor to be part of such an outstanding team."

Walt Pegram with OUPS also noted that safety is a team effort, but that it takes commitment from the top. "While the work crews that compiled this extraordinary record are the ones most responsible for setting this fantastic level of safety, it reflects on the commitment from the managers and County Engineer Greg Wilkens to provide the support that establishes a good safety program. The Ohio Utilities Protection Service congratulates the Butler County Engineer's Office and its employees for their efforts in setting a high standard of safety and prevention of damage to buried utilities."

OUPS serves as a vital communication link between excavators and utilities. With more utilities being placed underground every year, it is a much greater challenge for excavators to be able to safely locate underground utilities and avoid damages and disruption. Garrett noted that this can be as small as telephone service to one house or as significant as a water main that serves thousands of people to underground electric or gas that could be potentially life threatening if cut by construction equipment.

Reduced Lost Time Injuries

The Engineer's Office also received an achievement award for reducing lost time injuries by more than 25 percent from the previous year. Presented at last week's 61st Annual Awards Banquet by the Greater Hamilton Safety Council, the award is in conjunction with the Ohio Bureau of Worker's Compensation (BWC). Garrett again pointed out that "this is a tribute to all BCEO employees for their commitment to work place safety."

Wilkens noted that reducing lost time injuries and fewer damages to underground utilities saves taxpayers money. "This shows that we not only care about our employees' safety, but that we take very seriously our responsibility to utilize public money wisely." The BCEO's primary source of funding comes from gasoline taxes and license plate fees.

OUPS award certificate BWC award certificate
Click images to enlarge.

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For more information contact:

Chris Petrocy, BCEO Public Information Supervisor
Greg Wilkens, P.E., P.S., Butler County Engineer
Phone 513.867.5744 • Fax 513.867.5849

Questions or comments about this web site? Email to BCEO Webmaster.

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