Safety Recognition Program

The purpose of the Employee Safety Recognition Program is to foster a culture that values safety by recognizing employees who demonstrate exceptional dedication and leadership to improve District workplace safety and by enabling employees to recognize each other for their safe actions.

There are three types of safety recognition awards, Spot, Public Safety, and Star. Read about the Safety Recognition Program (PDF) for complete details. All awards should be given in a timely manner via the Safety Event Report Form, should include an explanation of the safety‐related act, and be given in front of co‐workers.

Safety Recognition Program
  1. 2020 Star Awards Q1

2020 Star Awards Q1

Jeff Chavez and Colton Rogers 

Cary Richardson nominated Jeff Chavez, Colton Rogers and Brian Sweeney for Spot Awards. The District Safety Committee elevated the Spot Awards to Safety Star Awards for Jeff Chavez and Colton Rogers. Jeff Chavez identified the potential safety hazard involved with accessing the LV Dam spillway for annual debris removal. The access point used in 2019 required an approximately 30’ drop. Jeff identified several spots where the potential fall hazard could be reduced to approximately 6’. He brought the suggestion to Brian Sweeney who helped select the best alternative location. They confirmed there were no environmental concerns and then organized a site visit with Greg Buncab, Colton Rogers, and Cary Richardson. Jeff designed and built a gate to access the spillway and Colton helped select the best ladder for the uneven surface. Together they designed and implemented an elegant improvement to reduce a potentially catastrophic safety hazard. Great work!

Thank you Jeff, Colton and Brian for your continuous contributions to the District’s World Class Safety Culture!

Chuck Gehrke, Donnella Smigiel-Amdahl, John Perry, Matt Underwood, Michelle Hulsey, and Sharon McNulty

Sonja Stanchina nominated six employees for a Spot award for a remarkable coordinated response to an early morning incident on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, involving a District employee who was noticeably in need of emergency medical assistance. 9-1-1 was called and the employee was transported to the hospital by ambulance, receiving the necessary care. These Spot Awards were elevated by the District Safety Committee to Star Awards.

  • Matt Underwood, O&M saw the employee arriving to work in the parking lot, noticed she was in need of medical assistance and escorted her upstairs to Human Resources.
  • Sharon McNulty, HR & Risk comfort role and provided the AED machine. Michelle Hulsey, HR & Risk comforted employee and kept everyone updated and escorted Fire personnel.
  • Chuck Gehrke, Finance waited outside for the ambulance to arrive and escorted ambulance personnel.
  • John Perry, HR & Risk comfort role and escorted employee to the hospital and waited for family member.
  • Donnella Smigiel-Amdahl, HR & Risk comfort role and escorted employee to hospital and waited for family member.

Thank you Chuck, Donnella, John, Matt, Michelle and Sharon for your continuous contributions to the District’s World Class Safety Culture!

Dan Dickson

Dan Dickson’s (East County Canal Utility Worker) Spot Award was elevated by the District Safety Committee to a Star Award for bringing together his Loop Canal cleaning crew to discuss some issues and recommendations for changing expectations related to cleaning the loop canal. While the expectations can always be tweaked a little, Dan took the time to write down some of his recommendations, brought his crew in at the morning tailgate to discuss them as a team and when it was over, the crew leader and the other members said it was great that they got to resolve some lingering issues and put together better methods. Communication amongst the team is crucial and it is great to see the crews communicate the way that they did. The Safety Committee recognized that the leadership exhibited by Dan Dickson to identify and communicate the need for change and bring together his peers to discuss and get buy-in on the improvements was exemplary.

Jim Meilandt and David Perez

Jim Meilandt and David Perez received Safety Spot Awards from Brian Vanciel. Jim and Dave built a valve turning adaptor that allows East County Canal Water Tenders to isolate the lateral that the valve feeds without the need to enter a confined space. This was elevated by the District Safety Committee to a Safety Star Award.

  1. 2019 Star Awards Q1
  2. 2019 Star Awards Q2
  3. 2019 Star Awards Q3
  4. 2019 Star Awards Q4

2019 Star Awards Q1

Ramon Gasca

Charlie Wise recommended Ramon for a Spot Award that was elevated to a STAR Award by the District Safety Committee. Ramon noticed that there were no mph signs posted along the canal in the Clyde Check 7 to Check 8 area. For those unfamiliar with the area, there are some sharp turns and steep embankments that could result in a vehicle rollover if the driver were to misjudge the speed and go over the side. Ramon took it upon himself to have speed limit signs installed every 100 feet because he felt this was a safety issue. He brought this to his supervisor’s attention and a few of the crew members felt that this was excellent work by Ramon.