Center of attention
Horse Job Corps receives national award
There’s no horsing around when it comes to safety and health at Kicking
Horse Job Corps. Members of KHJC’s Safety Team have garnered a national
award for their program’s efforts. Pictured in front L to R: Clarenda
Begaye, General Lundy, Elisa Iyotte-Black Crow. Middle row L to R:
Isidore Otero, Chris Eppler, Sean Jenkins, Robert Matt, Don Cline,
Hunter Ewing. Back Row: Aron Grigor. Other members not available
include: Tyler Zerke, Amy Carpenter, Frank Martinez, Tyndale Tallman
and Robert Apel. (Kim Swaney photo)
RONAN — For the first time
in anyone’s recollection, Kicking Horse is the center of attention - in
more ways than one. Kicking Horse has earned national recognition for
receiving an excellent health and safety performance rating during the
2009-2010 program year.
Ask the students if they feel safe and secure at
Kicking Horse and they will tell you that the center provides an
atmosphere where there’s a sense of belonging and they feel safe.
The staff and students continually make
improvements to the center such as “Earth Day Every Day,” the
center-wide effort to go green and lessen or eliminate wasteful
There’s no horseplay either. Students on the
safety team say that they are taught to be safe no matter where they
are, to look at one self and others, and how to take charge in
The residential training center operated by the
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes for the Department of Labor,
houses nearly 200 students. The students’ health and safety are the
priority for all of the staff and students, but especially for two
staff members who wear more than one hat on center. Safety officer
Robert Matt operates the maintenance program and assistant safety
officer Don Cline is the Career Technical Training Coordinator.
Matt and Cline meet regularly with the safety
team consisting of student safety officers from throughout the center
and each of the career technical training areas. Students acquire
leadership skills throughout their stay at Kicking Horse several ways.
One is by being a leader in the dormitories or by becoming a safety
officer in their vocational trade. They teach their peers proper use of
equipment. Safety officers survey and monitor work sites and
residential areas for potential threats and hazards. They also earn
extra money for being a safety officer and they take their role as
serious as an accident.
Hunter Ewing, a student who came to Kicking Horse
from Colorado, noticed that the carpentry trade did not have a “drop
saw.” Ewing told the safety team of a technologically advanced saw he
used in high school. A demonstration with a hot dog wiener showed that
the saw would cut until it detected the hot dog and then it immediately
stopped and dropped without breaking the skin on the hot dog. Ewing’s
observation and recommendation has earned him rewards he’ll receive
Keeping the students safe and healthy isn’t
something Kicking Horse staff and students stumbled on - it is a
thoroughly thought out plan, with a yearly review and a rating system.
Every aspect of the center is reviewed and students interviewed by a
contractor from the Department of Labor.
Areas evaluated include: Management, leadership
and student participation; Workplace analysis; Accident reporting and
record analysis; Hazard Prevention and control; Emergency response;
Safety and Health Training; and Written OSHA Programs that focus on 11
sub-elements such as Blood borne pathogens, Hearing conservation,
Asbestos, and Lead to name a few.
The students who are a part of the safety team say
that by making small measures it can prevent big disasters, and in this
case - it can earn them national recognition.