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Feb. 15, 2006

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories earns top safety and health recognition

TUMWATER — Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) has been recognized by the Department of Labor & Industries for achieving excellence in workplace safety and health at its Pullman headquarters.

The manufacturing lab was named a Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) STAR worksite, the state's highest honor for comprehensive and successful programs focused on occupational safety and health. This status is based on leadership and commitment, extensive employee participation, an ongoing safety and health improvement program, and successfully passing an L&I audit and extensive on-site review. SEL joins an exclusive club of only 25 Washington worksites that have earned VPP recognition.

SEL has 880 employees in Pullman. They design, develop and manufacture equipment and services to protect, monitor, control, automate and meter utility and industrial electric power systems worldwide.

The worksite's potential hazards include machinery, electrical, thermal and energy hazards, and exposure to injuries from lifting, confined spaces, hazardous noise levels, falls and chemicals. The company devoted significant resources to reducing or eliminating the hazards, resulting in a total case incident rate 44 percent below the national average for similar industries.

"We would encourage all employers to follow Schweitzer's example in preventing injuries and illnesses in the workplace," said Labor & Industries Director Gary Weeks. "One of our core missions is to work in partnership with employers and employees for safer workplaces, and we stand ready to help them as we balance effective education and outreach with enforcement, when it's necessary."

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For media information: Elaine Fischer, L&I, 360-902-5413 or nele235@LNI.wa.gov, or visit the L&I News and Media Center at www.lni.wa.gov/News.

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