Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

October 7, 2010

Center of attention

Kicking Horse Job Corps receives national award

By Kim Swaney

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)
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 practices.

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 emergency situations.

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 upon graduation.

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.

Advertise with us!
Share
submit to reddit
('DiggThis’)
Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious