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For immediate release: March 9, 2017

Ohio employers earn cash and kudos for creative safety solutions

BWC doles out annual innovation awards

COLUMBUS - The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) today presented individual awards of up to $6,000 to five Ohio employers who developed innovative solutions to reduce potential workplace injuries.

The bureau's annual Safety Innovation Awards were presented during the 2017 Ohio Safety Congress and Expo, BWC's annual three-day occupational safety, health and workers' compensation conference at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

"Sometimes a solution to a safety hazard isn't readily apparent, and it takes extra effort and ingenuity to address a company's unique needs and challenges," said BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison "That's just what each of these employers did, and we applaud them for going above and beyond to protect their workers and improve productivity."

The awards for this year's competition include:

  • 1st place ($6,000 award): ICP Adhesives and Sealants, Norton
  • 2nd place ($4,000 award): C&K Industrial Services Inc., Cleveland
  • 3rd place ($3,000 award): Holloway, Henderson & Martin LLC, Pickerington
  • Honorable Mention ($1,500 award): Suburban Steel Supply Company, Gahanna
  • Honorable Mention ($1,500 award): Ames Arboreal Group, Columbus
See below for a description of each company's innovation.

Holloway, Henderson and Martin LLC was also selected to receive the People's Choice Award by OSC17 attendees and will receive an additional $1,000.

The five finalists showcased their innovations at the Safety Congress Expo Marketplace. A panel of independent judges evaluated and scored the innovations based on a number of criteria, including risk reduction, innovation, cost savings, potential for the innovation to be used by other employers and presentation quality.

Introduced in 2012, the Safety Innovation Awards program encourages innovative solutions that reduce the risk of workplace injuries and illnesses. Here's a breakdown of this year's winners and their inventions:

Ames Arboreal Group, Columbus - Micrograpple truck
This full-service tree and brush trimming service used to haul mobile wood chippers to job sites for the reduction and removal of tree and brush debris. But working with those chippers posed immediate, acute and long-term injury risks to workers, including dismemberment and death. Owner Nathan Ames visualized, engineered and built the "JosieBea" micrograpple truck to avoid those risks. The truck's grapple lifts debris into a dump trailer, which is taken to a mechanized wood chipping facility. Watch a video here.

C and K Industrial Services, Cleveland - Hydroblasting robots
C and K provides heavy-duty vacuuming and pressure washing services for cleaning sewer lines, pipes and various industrial equipment and facilities. The company uses power washing wands that deliver water and cleaning solutions at up to 40,000 psi, posing numerous risks to its human handlers. C&K removed those risks by teaming with Smart Water Systems to design and fabricate two different all-terrain, remote-controlled, hydroblasting robots. The robots have an articulating arm for high-level work and one for lower-level work. Watch a video here.

Holloway, Henderson & Martin LLC, Pickerington - Scaffold caddy
This masonry contractor performs interior and exterior construction and restoration work for all types of businesses. Prior to its innovation, workers manually carried heavy scaffold frames and other components to where they would erect the scaffold. Risks included overexertion injuries, trips and falls. The company reduced those risks by fabricating a cart that, when fully loaded with scaffold parts, can pass through doorways, fit onto elevators and maneuver down busy corridors. Watch a video here.

ICP Adhesives and Sealants, Norton - Pneumatically-operated cylinder clamp
Prior to its innovation, this manufacturer of adhesives and sealants for the construction industry relied on employees to use manually operated clamps to attach filling nozzles to cylinders that were filled with sprayable materials. Each employee on six production lines typically filled 100 to 250 cylinders per day, risking potential repetitive stress and soft-tissue injuries. The job could get messy, too, exposing employees to chemicals and a hazardous clean-up process using acetone. ICP worked with a sales rep from a pneumatic control supplier to develop a pneumatic clamping mechanism, replete with electronic controls and monitoring devices to prevent accidental chemical release when removing the clamps. Watch a video here.

Suburban Steel Supply Company, Gahanna - Electric transfer cart
This steel fabricator handles steel products weighing as much as 5,000 pounds and measuring up to 60 feet long. Prior to its innovation, the company used multiple employees, some using forklifts, to manually push carts on imbedded tracks to transfer the products. Workers were at risk for slips, trips, falls, muscle strains and forklift collisions. Suburban Steel’s solution was to motorize the existing transfer carts with battery operated motors and gear reducers. Employees now use handheld controllers and simply walk beside the cart. The carts also have laser scanners that trigger the cart to stop if they sense people or objects in the pathway. Watch a video here.

Visit BWC's YouTube Channel to view videos highlighting each company's innovation, and read more on BWC's website.

Watch bwc.ohio.gov this summer for entry guidelines for the Safety Innovations Competition at next year's Ohio Safety Congress and Expo.

Follow BWC on Twitter.

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