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National Park Service News Release


Contact(s):   Carol Anthony, (202) 208-4988


National Park Service Director Lauds Safety Day

NPS EMPLOYEES AND PARTNERS RECOGNIZED AT AWARDS CEREMONY

National Park Service (NPS) Director Robert Stanton lauded the first annual Department of the Interior's Safety Day and awards ceremony held today in the Sidney R. Yates Auditorium at the Interior building. Stanton presented two awards, the Director's Employee Safety Achievement Award and the Andrew Clark Hecht Memorial Public Safety Achievement Award to Superintendent Wendell A. Simpson, Natchez Trace Parkway, and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and its partners, the Restaurant Management Corporation and the Post Tribune, respectively.

"I am dedicated to improving safety within the National Park Service and will continue to champion the need for safety leadership and awareness among all managers and employees," said NPS Director Stanton. "It gives me great pleasure to have these remarkable individuals honored for their commitment to safety at the highest level."

The recipient for the 1999 Director's Employee Safety and Health Achievement Award is Superintendent Wendell A. Simpson at Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the Servicewide Safety and Occupational Program of the NPS by an individual employee or a group or team of employees. It is presented for significant achievements and contributions in the cultivation of a safe and healthful Service work environment.

Simpson was selected for his exceptional achievement in support and implementation of safety initiative plans and programs to revitalize and enhance the Natchez Trace Parkway Safety Program. His leadership, direction, and employee support; enormous progress over the course of two years in reduction of employee accidents, injuries, and development and implementation of the Parkway Safety Committee Documented Safety Plan made him an outstanding recipient. The Safety Plan assisted in development and definition of safe work ethics, Job Hazard Analyses for repetitive tasks and special details, and the beginning of the new Parkway safety culture. He has also been key in promoting Behavior Based Safety, which identifies the root cause of accidents, and accident and review processes.

The recipients for the 1999 Andrew Clark Hecht Memorial Public Safety Achievement Award are Indiana Dunes NL, the Restaurant Management Corporation and the Post Tribune. The award is in memory of Andrew Clark Hecht, the nine year-old son of Dr. James and Amy Hecht who died in 1970 as a result of an accident in Yellowstone National Park's Crested Pool. The award recognizes outstanding public safety achievement and is presented to an individual employee, group or team of employees for prevention of accidents that may cause serious visitor injuries or fatalities.

Indiana Dunes NL, the Restaurant Management Corporation and the Post Tribune were responsible for the development and implementation of a multi-directional campaign of public education, workforce reallocation, and community/private sector participation, with measurable goals. In a collaborative effort they maximized lifeguard protection and developed written educational material; provided a source to display long-term water safety messages; made controversial publishing decisions in addition to running a series of water safety articles, editorials, media blitz, and a special section to coincide with the park's Water Safety Expo; and established a formal fund-raising agreement for continued water safety education and beach signage.

The Department's Safety Day is the culmination of the "Think Twice Work Safe" campaign, a Department-wide safety initiative that applies to employees at all work sites.

- NPS -

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