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BWC Safety Innovation Awards: the 2020 Winners

Jul 20, 2020
6 min read

Every year, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation recognizes employers who go above and beyond in developing safety solutions for their employees. The competition is usually fierce, with companies from various industries across the state competing.

Winners of the Safety Innovation Awards are announced each year at the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo. This year, five winners were awarded for their workplace innovations. We would like to take this moment to congratulate the 2020 Safety Innovation Awards winners and briefly highlight their innovative safety solutions.

Diversified Fall Protection – Portable Truss Anchor

The first of our five winners is Diversified Fall Protection, a company that engineers and manufacturers fall-safety equipment. Working on machinery while on the ground is dangerous enough; working on machinery in the air adds a heightened hazard. To this end, Diversified Fall Protection developed a novel solution to protect workers: the Portable Truss Anchor. Quicker and easier to install than traditional anchors, the Portable Truss Anchor allows workers to establish an OSHA-compliant anchorage point for working in high places. So far, over one thousand workers have made use of the Portable Truss Anchor and zero have suffered from fall-related injuries.

Fort Amanda Specialties – Custom Cleaning-in-Place Safety Solution

Second is Fort Amanda Specialties, specializing in chemical processing and creation. A dangerous aspect of working in the chemical processing industry is cleaning machinery and work materials. One of these machines, a transport screw used to move materials for production, was particularly dangerous. Cleaning the device exposed workers to the open machinery, high-pressure water, and risks of slipping on overspray. To protect their workers, Fort Amanda Specialties developed a custom wash-lid to be placed over the transport screw. The wash-lid featured a permanent spray nozzle inside, leading to workers no longer being exposed to the machinery itself, the high-pressure water used to clean it, or dangerous overspray that could lead to slippery conditions. This innovation led to safer conditions and less water usage.

Mt. Vernon City Schools – Rapid Barricade

Taking a step away from the industrial sector, the third winner is found in the public-school system. Mt. Vernon City Schools is the third Safety Innovation Awards winner, taking home the prize for their innovative Rapid Barricade. With the unfortunate reality that schools must be prepared for lockdown scenarios, Mt. Vernon City Schools personnel developed a device to help lock doors while still meeting ADA guidelines for accessibility. Their solution, the Rapid Barricade, was designed with the unique circumstances of the classroom and the ADA guidelines in mind. The Rapid Barricade is easily installed on any ADA-standard doorway, can be operated in seconds, and can withstand over 1,200 of force. Collaborating with a local machine shop, the personnel who developed this device have filed for a patent and plan to deploy their invention to other schools. This invention not only protects workers from potential harm; it also protects children as they go about their education.

TFO Tech Co., LTD – Furnace Pulley Unloader

TFO Tech Co., LTD takes the number four spot with their Furnace Pully Unloader. Producing automobile and other machine parts, TFO Tech Co. utilizes industry-standard furnaces to create their parts. One aspect of furnace operation involved workers raking parts into bins as they exited the furnace. With the parts being incredibly hot and the repetitive raking motion posing a threat to workers backs, shoulders, and chests, injuries were a serious threat. In response to this threat, TFO Tech Co. developed the Furnace Pulley Unloader, a machine operated, steel rake that would perform the same job. This invention solved the two-fold threat: workers could stay further away from the hot parts coming out of the furnace and would no longer be required to operate the rank manually. What was once a dangerous part of the job is now as simple as the push of a button.

Thyssenkrupp Bilstein of America – Near Miss Reporting App

The fifth and final winner of the 2020 Safety Innovation Awards is a Hamilton based company. Thyssenkrupp Bilstein of America is a local business that manufacturers shock-absorbers for various automobiles. Employing approximately seven hundred workers, Thyssenkrupp was facing a problem that many large-scale employers face: a lack of reporting near-miss incidents. Near-miss incident reporting required workers to fill out pages of documents, retrieve signatures from witness, and submit them through the proper bureaucratic channels. This tedious system made it inconvenient to report near-misses to the company and led to an overall lack of reporting by workers. To remedy this, Thyssenkrupp developed the Near Miss Reporting App. Readily accessible from an everyday smartphone, the app allows workers to quickly and easily report near-misses. By having these incidents reports, the company is able to preemptively act to prevent future injuries. Like the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

McKenzie & Snyder extend their heartfelt congratulations to all of the 2020 winners. More information about the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and the Safety Innovation Awards can be found at Likewise, video demonstrations of each of the safety innovations can be found at the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation YouTube here, While these winners and other contestants have made employee safety a high priority, some companies do not.

If you are injured on the job, call the attorneys at McKenzie & Snyder. With over twenty years of experience in Workers’ Compensation law, the attorneys of McKenzie & Snyder are here to fight for you.

When you need a lifeline, call McKenzie & Snyder at (513) 737-5180.

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