Kansas Bus Manufacturer's EHS Manager Named 2010 SPOTY

Mike Strickland's leadership in safety, environmental programs, and recovery after several disasters earned him KellerOnline's 2010 Safety Professional of the Year.

A March 8 awards ceremony at the Neenah, Wis., headquarters of J.J. Keller & Associates Inc. will recognize Mike Strickland, environmental, health & safety manager for Collins Bus Corporation of South Hutchinson, Kansas, as the 2010 KellerOnline Safety Professional of the Year (SPOTY).

Strickland was nominated by the company's president, Kent Tyler, who called Strickland's addition to the staff "a key element" in the changes that transformed the company. "Upon his arrival here," Tyler continued, "he initiated immediate changes to processes and training systems. His knowledge of safety and hazard prevention combined with his experience and passion to teach and influence people's lives is what sets him apart from others. He does not preach safety, he teaches safety. His leadership has transformed Collins Bus to a safety and environmental leader in our field."

Strickland joined the company in January 2008. Its 2007 recordable rate was 14.09, and its Days Away/Restricted or Transferred (DART) rate was 3.06. Those numbers for 2009 were 7.44 and 0.83, respectively, meaning the recordable rate improved by 47 percent and the DART rate by 73 percent in two years. In April 2010, the manufacturer celebrated one year and more than 500,000 work hours without a lost workday case.

Several emergencies occurred during this period, including a 2008 hailstorm that damaged more than 1,000 chassis and hundreds of finished buses, a March 2009 snowstorm that collapsed a large portion of the facility's roof, and a June 2009 microburst that destroyed much of the company's east facility, which houses half of its manufacturing operations, its main office, engineering offices, and major paint facilities. Full production had resumed only a week later.

The Kansas Department of Labor approved Collins Bus for full Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) participation on Sept. 23, 2010.

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