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Welcome to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s Online Newsletter

December 2015

What’s the Latest?

BridgeToppingOut1Kentucky’s Workplace Injury and Illness Rate is Lowest in History

Read why Kentucky’s workers are safer now than ever before, and see some of the ways the Kentucky Labor Cabinet worked with employers to reduce injuries and help workers stay safe.

 

Secretary RobertsFinal Message from Secretary Roberts

With a change in administration, Secretary Roberts takes a moment to look back on his time at the Labor Cabinet and reflect on the hard work that the people of the Cabinet perform every day. Read his message to the people of the Labor Cabinet.

 

 

DerrickKRamseyDerrick Ramsey to be Next Labor Cabinet Secretary

He made history as a football player at the University of Kentucky, has been a champion and leader on the field and off, and had a distinguished career in state government. Now, Derrick Ramsey is set for a new opportunity to help protect the workers and serve the employers of the Commonwealth.

 

RoseCROPPEDRose Miller: Be the Hero To Your Story

In a race against time, Rose Miller hopes to find a way to keep enjoying family, friends, and fun. See how she’s looking for a person to give a gift — that could save her life.

 

 

bigRiversTSEBig Rivers Sebree Station Works 2 Million Hours Without a Lost-Time Incident

More than 2 million hours without a lost-time incident may sound hard to believe, but you’ll see why employees at Big Rivers Sebree Station have been extremely successful at making safety a top priority.

JohnsonControlsCROPPEDJohnson Controls Earns First Governor’s Safety and Health Award

With 800 employees, Johnson Controls is one of the biggest facilities in years to earn a Governor’s Safety and Health Award. But safety doesn’t happen by accident. Read about the steps the company took to protect its workers.

 

 

OPSplusCROPPEDOps Plus Earns Governor’s Safety and Health Award

Six years ago a worker suffered a lost-time incident at Ops Plus in Louisville. After that, the company has been extremely successful at staying safe on the job.

Hardin County Water District No. 2 Earns Governor’s Safety and Health Award

Working in high risk and exposed environments doesn’t mean employees have to suffer injuries. See how one facility is doing everything it can to keep good, clean water on its way to customers — while staying safe at the same time.

 

RMR paducah FLAGcroppedRiver Metals Recycling Paducah Facility Earns SHARP Award

Safety is a statewide goal for one company, with multiple worksites joining an elite group. See how RMR Paducah was able to keep up with its sister facilities in Kentucky.

 

siemens_logoSiemens Earns Governor’s Safety and Health Award, Celebrates National Manufacturing Day

Manufacturing is huge for our economy, representing about 18 percent of Kentucky’s gross domestic product. While celebrating Manufacturing Day in Kentucky, see how one company doubled its pleasure by marking seven years without a lost-time incident.

 

 

 

Kentucky’s Workplace Injury and Illness Rate is Lowest in History

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BridgeToppingOut1
Workers celebrate a milestone called “topping out” at the Ohio River Bridges Project in Louisville

Labor Secretary credits education, partnerships and enforcement

 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 24, 2015) – The Kentucky Labor Cabinet announced today the latest incidence rate involving all employer-reported workplace injury and illnesses was 3.8 per 100 equivalent full-time workers, which is the lowest rate in Kentucky since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began recording the data in 1996. This rate is for the entire 2014 calendar year.

“The safety and health of our workers should be a top concern for any governor, and I’m especially proud that our workplace injury and illness rate is the lowest it’s ever been,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “Workplace injuries and fatalities are preventable, and they should be taken very seriously.”

“Simply put, workers are safer now in Kentucky than ever before,” said Kentucky Labor Secretary Larry L. Roberts. “This is a work in progress, however, because safety doesn’t just happen by accident. Programs such as the Labor Cabinet’s free consultation surveys, partnerships with employers and targeted enforcement of certain higher-risk industries are crucial to the continued decline in workplace incidents.”

What is the Incidence Rate?

The incidence rate represents the number of injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers per year. Each year in Kentucky, employers report approximately 16,000 non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses involving days away from work, job transfer or restricted duty. There were 15,650 reported in Kentucky in 2014; 16,660 in 2013; and 16,620 in 2012.

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet provides this information to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which conducts an annual survey of occupational injuries and illnesses. The survey also captures data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) logs of workplace injuries and illnesses maintained by employers as required by law.

Closing the Gap

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began recording incidence rate data in 1996, when Kentucky’s rate was 8.4 per 100 full-time workers. This rate is for all private and public industries in Kentucky. The rate has been declining every year in Kentucky since 2010, when it was 4.5.

Kentucky’s incidence rate is slightly higher than the national average of 3.2. The national average has dropped from 3.3 in 2013 and 3.4 in 2012. Kentucky is closing the gap more than ever before, going from 4.2 in 2012 to 4.1 in 2013 and now to 3.8.

Lowering the Rate

There are a number of industries in Kentucky for which injury and illness rates are much higher than Kentucky’s overall average in 2014. The two areas with the highest injury and illness rates were the machine shop industry (12.5 in 2013) and the wood container and manufacturing industry (11.5). The Kentucky Labor Cabinet worked directly with those companies to eliminate hazards and improve health. As a result, machine shops have fallen from 12.5 to 8.5, and wood container and pallet manufacturing fell from 11.5 to 8.8.

Since 1972, Kentucky has operated through a state plan approved by OSHA, which allows Kentucky to have its own jurisdiction for enforcement, on-site consultation, standards promulgation, and training services related to workplace safety and health.

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet’s Occupational Safety and Health Program (KY OSH) works with Kentucky employers in many ways to improve workplace conditions. Free consultative surveys and partnership programs allow highly-trained staff of the Labor Cabinet’s Education and Training Division to perform audits of workplaces to identify hazards. Industry-specific inspection programs allow KY OSH compliance investigators the ability to focus on high-risk industries.

Initiatives such as the Fall Prevention Stand-Down Campaign and Heat Stress Program raise awareness and provide free training and information to employers and employees. More than 80,000 Kentucky workers have taken free online training through the Labor Cabinet’s online courses and webinars. Each year, the Labor Cabinet provides approximately 1,500 safety managers and employees with free, hands-on training in classroom settings at major population centers throughout Kentucky.

The Labor Cabinet also works with the Kentucky Safety and Health Network to co-host the annual Governor’s Safety and Health Conference, which brings together hundreds of working men and women, safety managers, occupational health nurses, construction managers and plant managers each year to discuss workplace safety and health matters.

Efforts to reduce workplace illnesses are part of Gov. Steve Beshear’s goal to improve the health of all Kentuckians. The Governor launched kyhealthnow last year as an aggressive and wide-ranging initiative to reduce incidents and deaths from Kentucky’s dismal health rankings and habits. It builds on Kentucky’s successful implementation of health care reform and uses multiple strategies over the next several years to improve the state’s collective health.

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Derrick Ramsey to be Next Labor Cabinet Secretary

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DerrickKRamsey
Photograph courtesy WKYT

Gov.-Elect Matt Bevin has named Derrick Ramsey as the next secretary of the Kentucky Labor Cabinet. Ramsey will be returning to state government after seven years leading the Coppin State University athletic department, located in Baltimore, Maryland.

 

Ramsey gained fame as a former NFL player, Super Bowl champion, and the first African American quarterback at the University of Kentucky. He was chosen as Deputy Secretary of Commerce in Kentucky in 2004. He managed human resources for the Commerce Cabinet as well as overseeing its budget.

 

Click here to read more on Derrick Ramsey, courtesy WKYT.

Rose Miller: Be the Hero To Your Story

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Rose1The first time it happened was about two years ago, and it came out of nowhere. The pain was sudden and severe, and it hit Rose Miller like a million needles in her back. She crumpled to the ground.

Her doctor explained that a cyst had burst in her kidney. He also told her to be ready for more. He was right, and they came at a clip of about once every two weeks. And they’re getting more frequent every week.

Rose has Polycystic Kidney Disease, known as PKD. It’s a genetic disorder, but she didn’t know she had it until 1999, when she was driving home alone from work and another driver ran through a stop sign and slammed into the side of her car. The impact pushed the passenger’s side of her car into the driver’s side. A police officer who investigated the crash said if Rose hadn’t veered at the last second, the other car was going so fast it would have gone completely through Rose’s little car. When her husband rushed to the scene of the crash, he didn’t recognize her car because it was so mangled.

“My whole right side was black and blue,” she says. Her kidney was punctured. She was airlifted to a hospital in Lexington, where doctors discovered she had the disease.

The Time Came Early

About 600,000 Americans have PKD. Cysts grow inside and destroy the kidneys, which have many life-critical functions, including cleaning toxins out of our bloodstream. Doctors told Rose she would eventually lose the use of her kidneys and would need a transplant or dialysis, which is a long, demanding, and elaborate process where a machine artificially performs the duty of your kidneys. At the time, she was only 29 years old — and they told her not to worry because it was a long way down the road.

“They really expected me to be in my 60s or so before I started having problems,” she says. “They said it’s so far away, we’ll deal with it when the time comes.”

The time came early. Things have gotten worse faster than expected. She’s 45 now and her right kidney has zero percent function. Her left kidney has only 10 percent remaining. She takes 14 pills a day. They range in size and color, from a tiny white one to a big blue one that’s the size of her thumb. She hurts and feels tired nearly all the time.

“You get very fatigued. You have constant pain. It’s in the abdomen, mainly in the lower back. It’s like a bad toothache, constantly.”  Ibuprofen is off limits because it damages kidneys. Rose can take Tylenol, and goes through about two to four a day. “I try not to take a lot,” she says. “Having to take all of these pills really bothers me.”

On Dec. 9, she has another test planned to see where she stands. If she hasn’t gotten a kidney transplant lined up, she’ll have to start dialysis treatment. The treatment is time consuming.

“I would go three times a week, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for four hours a day,” she says. She will get two needles in her arm and sit for four hours while the process removes, cleans and returns her blood to her body. “It is your artificial kidney, basically.”

Once she starts dialysis, she’ll have to go for treatments the rest of her life, unless she gets a kidney transplant. Every year she’s on dialysis, however, the rate of success drops that her body will accept a transplant.

It’s hard to live a long life on dialysis. “When we visited the dialysis center, they said some people have lasted as long as 12 to 15 years,” says Rose. “Some people.”

“I have come to the conclusion that I will have to do some dialysis,” she says. “It’s that close. But the best scenario would be to find that kidney. Get that kidney transplant in order to live a normal life, to have my three F’s: Family, Friends, and Fun. That’s my big thing.”

Finding Love

Rose met her husband when she was in her twenties. She had a job as a cashier at a small grocery store called Hughes Market. There was a certain customer who would come in the store quite a bit who developed quite a fondness for Rose — his name was John.

“I used to feel so sorry for him because he’d come in and buy his little can of Dinty Moore beef stew,” Rose says.

John was after more than beef stew. He was hoping to capture Rose’s heart. Then, another man entered the picture. His name was Jeff, and he was John’s brother. Jeff told Rose two pieces of crucial information. First, he revealed that he wanted to take her on a date. Rose felt like Jeff had a big heart, but she had to be honest with him.

“I told him that was great, but really I was a little bit more interested in his brother,” says Rose.

Next, Jeff dropped another bombshell. “He told me John was engaged to someone else. That just devastated me.”

Jeff left the store and Rose tried to come to terms with this terrible news. She was at the front of the store near the coffee machine, putting straws in the dispenser. Then, in walked John. He looked at Rose and her hand slipped on the straw dispenser, sending straws everywhere. They bounced and covered the floor, rolling all directions.

John came straight to Rose, bent down, and started helping her pick up all the straws.

Rose maintained her composure. “So,” she said, narrowing her eyes and looking right at him. “I hear congratulations are in order.”

“For what?” he asked, still picking up straws. “What are you congratulating me about?”

“On your engagement,” she said, looking right into his eyes. They stood together, only inches apart, and John looked stunned.

Busted.

“What are you talking about?” he said. “I’m not engaged. I came here to ask you out.”

Rose realized John’s brother had pulled a fast one. Six months later they married. Now, they’ve been married for 24 years and have two teenage sons, Cameron and Cody.

A Fighting Chance

On the rear windshield of Rose’s silver car is a message in big, block white letters: NEED TYPE O KIDNEY. Call 502-330-6648. RoseFriendsCROPPED

There’s also a Facebook page for her: Rose’s Plea for a Living Donor.

The hope is that someone will come forward and be willing to donate a kidney. That person must have Type O blood and no major health issues. Rose’s health insurance would pay for everything. The donor would have to be in the hospital for 2-3 days and would need to be off work for 3-4 weeks.

Waiting on a kidney from someone who has died can take about three years. The list is so long. But with a living donor, that donor has the opportunity to choose who gets his or her kidney.

Her son Cam, who is 18 now, said, “Mom, everyone is the hero to their own story.” Rose realized that to make something happen in life, you can’t wait around for someone else to do it. You have to take action.

“That’s kind of what I am doing, and all of my friends and supporters, we’re trying to be the hero to my story.”

The clock is ticking for Rose. She feels like on Dec. 9, her doctor will tell her she has to start dialysis. “I’ve been in a lot more pain, and a lot more tired lately,” she says.  “So, I feel like he’ll say it’s time.”

She has four years to retirement. She wants to be able to keep working until she retires. “My work for the state and the Kentucky Labor Cabinet is an accomplishment for me. I want to finish it. I’m determined.”

But she’s never giving up. She’s ready to be the hero to her own story.

“You just have to go on,” she says with a smile. “What’s the alternative? Quit work, stay home and stay in bed all the time? No, I can’t do that. You just get through it.”

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More About Rose

Rose Miller has been at the Kentucky Labor Cabinet for 20 years, and now serves as the Procedures Development Coordinator for the Education and Training Division’s safety staff. She helps companies work with safety experts to keep their facilities safe for workers. 

Final Message from Secretary Roberts

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Secretary RobertsI am extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve as Secretary of Labor for the past 2 ½ years. It’s been an honor and a privilege to be part of the Beshear Administration. Throughout my 33 years of public service, I have been blessed to work with some extremely talented and gifted individuals who were dedicated to the primary mission of the Labor Cabinet — to protect workers.

 

I began my employment with the Kentucky Department of Labor as a Labor Standards Investigator on June 16, 1973. I experienced first-hand the plight of many workers in their struggle to make a living and support their families while being denied fair wages and benefits. Initially, my work was just a job — however, it became a career, and I am proud to say I came to work each day committed to serving and protecting the working men and women of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

 

The mission of the Labor Cabinet is to administer Kentucky’s workplace standards and workers’ compensation laws through education, mediation, adjudication and enforcement, in order to promote safe, healthful and quality working environments for employees and employers; to foster cooperative relationships between labor and management; and to promote fair compensation. This mission is as important today as it was in 1936 when the Department of Industrial Relations was created by Governor A. B. “Happy” Chandler and he appointed our first commissioner.

 

You are part of this mission because of the job you have chosen. I hope that your career path will always find success, no matter what political winds blow or what outside forces may do. We are all on a journey in life, and there is one thing that is for certain: everything changes and change is on the way for the Labor Cabinet. Regardless of what changes take place within the Labor Cabinet, it is my hope that you continue to work hard to fulfill the mission of this great organization. Having a safe, healthful workplace and receiving fair compensation for your labor is not only what the law requires, it is the ethical and moral responsibly of our society to treat workers fairly with respect and dignity.

 

I have been blessed to have earned a pension, and I’m at the age now where I can start thinking about retirement and peaceful carefree days with my wife, children and grandchildren. There is no better place I can think of to live and raise a family than in Kentucky, and I’m proud of the place we call home. Let’s continue to do our best, no matter what, to make the Commonwealth the best place it can be.

 

We have good, hard-working people in the Cabinet and you do tremendous work that many times goes unnoticed and may appear to be unappreciated. While you don’t do it for the glory, everyone appreciates a pat on the back once in a while for a job well done.

 

Thank you for your work, and thank you for working with me during my time as Secretary. I appreciate you, and share a common bond with you: a passion for protecting the working people of Kentucky.

 

May God bless you and continue to help you on your journey, for the success of your career and the benefit of your own family.

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Big Rivers Sebree Station Works 2 Million Hours Without a Lost-Time Incident

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bigRiversTSEEarns 11th Governor’s Safety and Health Award

 

ROBARDS, Ky. (Nov. 30, 2015) – Deputy Secretary Rocky Comito of the Kentucky Labor Cabinet joined employees and officials in Robards to present the employees of Big Rivers Sebree Station with the Governor’s Safety and Health Award. The honor recognizes the employees for working 2,063,993 hours without a lost-time accident or illness. This is the facility’s 11th award, last earning the recognition in August 2014, when it had more than 1.5 million hours without an incident.

 

“To go two million hours without a lost-time incident shows an extreme dedication to safety,” said Labor Secretary Larry L. Roberts. “The Big Rivers Sebree Station continues to maintain an incredible focus on staying safe on the job, which is something every workplace in Kentucky should have as a goal.”

 

Big Rivers has earned 38 previous Governor’s Safety and Health Awards throughout the years. The corporation is a member-owned, not-for-profit, generation and transmission cooperative headquartered in Henderson. With nearly 530 employees, Big Rivers owns, operates and maintains a 1,285-mile transmission system, three generating plants and 22 substations.

 

“Safety builds the foundation for everything we do at Big Rivers,” said Bob Berry, president and CEO at Big Rivers. “Reaching two million hours without a lost-time incident at Sebree Station is a tremendous accomplishment, and once again highlights our commitment to make this a safe workplace. I want to congratulate IBEW’s leadership for continuing to promote our safety culture and each employee for doing his or her part to ensure health and wellness. It’s encouraging to see their teamwork and dedication recognized by the Commonwealth’s highest safety honor.”

 

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1701 represents the employees at Sebree Station. The national IBEW union traces its roots to the late 1800s, and is the oldest and largest electrical union in the world.

 

“I am so proud of our dedicated workforce in achieving the two million-hour milestone,” said Mike Pullen, vice president of production. “This award is earned by a continuous daily focus on safe work practices in our plants.”

 

With approximately 225 employees, Sebree Station is comprised of three generating stations: Robert A. Reid, Robert D. Green, and Henderson Municipal Power and Light Station II. The three power plants combined have a capacity to produce 896 megawatts of electricity.

 

Big Rivers is owned by three distribution cooperative members: Jackson Purchase Energy Corp., headquartered in Paducah; Kenergy Corp., headquartered in Henderson; and Meade County Rural Electric Cooperative Corp., headquartered in Brandenburg. These member cooperatives deliver retail electric power and energy to more than 113,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in portions of 22 western Kentucky counties.

 

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet presents the Governor’s Safety and Health Award in recognition of outstanding safety and health performance. An establishment may qualify for the award if its employees together achieve a required number of hours worked without experiencing a lost-time injury or illness. The required number of hours is dependent upon the number of employees. In the case of Sebree Station, the requirement is 500,000.

 

The Governor’s Safety and Health Award program is part of Gov. Steve Beshear’s efforts to improve the health of all Kentuckians. The Governor launched kyhealthnow last year as an aggressive and wide-ranging initiative to reduce incidents and deaths from Kentucky’s dismal health rankings and habits. It builds on Kentucky’s successful implementation of health care reform and uses multiple strategies over the next several years to improve the state’s collective health.

 

Every establishment within the geographical boundaries of Kentucky is eligible for the award, even if the establishment won the award the previous year. Eligibility is limited to one award during a 12-month period of time.

 

For more on the Governor’s Safety and Health Award, and for a list of past winners, click here.

 

For more on Big Rivers, visit www.bigrivers.com.

 

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Johnson Controls Earns First Governor’s Safety and Health Award

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JohnsonControlsCROPPEDEmployees work more than 1.1 million hours without a lost-time injury or illness

 

 

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (Nov. 19, 2015) – Deputy Secretary Rocky Comito of the Kentucky Labor Cabinet today presented employees of Johnson Controls in Georgetown with the Governor’s Safety and Health Award. The employees went more than 1.1 million hours without a lost-time incident to earn their first award.

 

Kentucky Labor Secretary Larry L. Roberts congratulated the employees on earning the honor.

 

“Let’s hope this is the first of many Governor’s Safety and Health Awards for Johnson Controls in Georgetown,” said Secretary Roberts. “This award represents hard work from hundreds of people all working together to make safety a top priority.”

 

With approximately 800 people in Georgetown, Johnson Controls has more than 130,000 employees worldwide and serves customers in more than 150 countries. The company produces lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles, seating components and systems for automobiles, and provides services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies for buildings.

 

“Johnson Controls is committed to protecting the health and safety of our team, and the environment in which they work and live,” said Jim Conklin, vice president of operations. “Our mission is to prevent injuries and illnesses, provide world class environmental performance, and ensure the total health and well-being of our employees and their families.”

 

JohnsonControlFULLgroup

The employees at Johnson Controls in Georgetown have made tremendous efforts to increase safety at their facility. From 2014 to 2015, the company reduced recordable injuries by 94 percent. One key to their success involved incorporating more than 300 monthly safety audits. The audits included peer-to–peer reviews that focused on team member behaviors as well as observation audits that checked for any hazards or violations.

 

Johnson Controls has multiple measures in place to prevent injuries. The company works on strengthening and preparing new employees, encouraging workers to report their first signs of discomfort, and stressing that every employee is part of a safety team. All workers are encouraged to report hazards and correct them.

 

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet presents the Governor’s Safety and Health Award in recognition of outstanding safety and health performance. An establishment may qualify for the award if its employees together achieve a required number of hours worked without experiencing a lost-time injury or illness. The required number of hours is dependent upon the number of employees. The requirement for the Johnson Controls was 1 million hours.

 

The Governor’s Safety and Health Award program is part of Gov. Steve Beshear’s efforts to improve the health of all Kentuckians. The Governor launched kyhealthnow last year as an aggressive and wide-ranging initiative to reduce incidents and deaths from Kentucky’s dismal health rankings and habits. It builds on Kentucky’s successful implementation of health care reform and uses multiple strategies over the next several years to improve the state’s collective health.

 

Every establishment within the geographical boundaries of Kentucky is eligible for the award, even if the establishment won the award the previous year. Eligibility is limited to one award during a 12-month period of time.

 

For more on the Governor’s Safety and Health Award, and for a list of past winners, click here.

 

Please visit www.johnsoncontrols.com to learn more about Johnson Controls.

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