GMS holds annual safety and attendance award ceremony

April 10, 2015
GMS Mine Repair and Maintenance Inc. held its annual safety and attendance award ceremony Friday, handing the keys to SUVs to two employees for their excellent safety records.

WAYNESBURG – GMS Mine Repair and Maintenance Inc. held its annual safety and attendance award ceremony Friday, handing the keys to SUVs to two employees for their excellent safety records.

The company, based in Oakland, Md., is a general contractor serving the coal mining industry.

GMS has an office in Waynesburg and a fabrication shop near Burgettstown and does work for, among others, Consol Energy Inc., Murray Energy, Alpha Natural Resources and Mepco Inc.

The annual awards are a way to recognize employees for their good attendance and for their seriousness in addressing workplace safety.

“I thank you guys for working safe and for showing up every day,” company President Courtland Helbig. “You make us a better company.”

Helbig spoke to a group of award winners who gathered at the Westmoreland County Community College branch at EverGreene Technology Park.

The presentation was webcast to the company’s other district offices, where other award winners were recognized.

The company, which has about 1,489 employees, has seven districts covering the states of Colorado, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky and Maryland.

Mike Thomas, company general manager, said employees did a good job last year working toward the goal of zero lost-time accidents.

“You’ve done a fantastic job in keeping our incident rate down,” Thomas said. “Several years ago, we were high. We’re down under two today, and that’s great.”

The lost-time incident rate is determined by total number of hours employees worked and the number of hours employees lost due to accidents or injuries. A loss-time injury rate under two, Thomas said, “in the industry, it’s great… It’s well below the average.”

To emphasize safety, every quarter each division has a “safety standown,” a meeting outside the workplace at which employees discuss safety issues and how improvements can be made, said Josh Helbig, company chief technical director.

The award winners Friday were among the company employees who worked through the year with no accidents or work absences. A lottery was conducted to determine the winners of the SUVs and other gifts.

The winners of the two 2015 Grand Cherokees were Charles Adams III of Uniontown, who works at Consol’s Harvey Mine; and Larry Berish of Perryopolis, who works at Consol’s Enlow Fork Mine.

Other safety award winner swere Logan Woods-Willis, who won a Polaris all-terrain vehicle; Justin N. Briggs, who won a Harley-Davidson motorcycle; and Dennis Lester, Adam Dumire and Charles Phillips, who each won a 60-inch television.

Wining perfect attendance awards were Michael Zonkoski, Julie Torres, Terry Skinner, David Yoho, Dustin Arnold, Jeff Kint and Chad E. Platter. Each received a 60-inch television.

The company also for the first time gave awards for safety and attendance for the first quarter of 2015.

Bob Niedbala worked as a general assignment reporter for the newspaper for 27 years in the Greene County bureau. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

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