Can You Spot the Safety Features at the Denver Zoo?

Its former safety director says they’re in place but well hidden in the Toyota Elephant Passage, which will open to the public June 1 –- just in time for those attending ASSE's Safety 2012 to visit, should they choose.

Trish Ennis, honored last year by the American Society of Safety Engineers' Women in Safety Engineering Common Interest Group as one of 100 women around the world making a difference in the safety, health and environmental field, is featured in the May 2012 issue of Professional Safety in a Q&A devoted to safety at the Denver Zoo.

Most of the conversation concerns the Toyota Elephant Passage (TEP), which will open to the public June 1 –- just in time for those attending ASSE's Safety 2012 to visit, should they choose.

Area Toyota dealers agreed in December 2011 to sponsor the $50 million exhibit, which is the largest construction project in the zoo's history. TEP is a 10-acre exhibit featuring 10 major buildings that house Asian elephants, rhinos, tapirs, leopards, birds, and reptiles. Ennis, who was director of workplace safety for the Denver Zoological Foundation during much of its construction, told the magazine that she participated in weekly safety meetings with Kiewit, the contractor, and worked with local contractors to ensure safety features were included yet invisible to the public.

TEP is expected to receive LEED certification at the gold or platinum level, the latter being the highest possible; according to the zoo's news releases, more than 90 percent of the zoo's waste is converted into energy to power the exhibit, which eliminates 1.5 million pounds of trash currently going to landfills annually, and most of the 1.1 million gallons of water running through the exhibit is recycled. It also includes natural light and radiant heating flooring systems that retain heat at lower elevations.

Ennis is now a senior risk consultant with Willis Group in Denver, according to the article. She discusses evaluating fall exposures and installing anchor points while working for the zoo, as well as implementing hearing protection and respiratory protection programs there.

The zoo is inside Denver's City Park with its main entrance on 23rd Avenue between Colorado Boulevard and York Street.

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