Chemical Lime’s O’Neal Quarry to honor workers

FROM STAFF REPORTS

CALERA – “Have a safe day.”

The tagline on Safety Coordinator Cliff Taylor’s voice mail says it all – safety comes first at the Chemical Lime Company’s O’Neal Quarry on U.S. 31 South.

The O’Neal Quarry is celebrating more than eight consecutive years of no lost time accidents. Award certificates and gifts will be presented to workers at a special breakfast Friday for third-shift workers and a luncheon for first- and second-shift employees. Representatives from the Chemical Lime corporate office will also be on hand to help honor the quarry’s success in safety.

The limestone mining and processing operation has worked more than 560,000 employee-hours without a lost workday injury since Oct. 20, 1999, when an electrician was fatally injured by a rock that fell from a highwall.

But Taylor knows that another injury could happen any time in mining.

“Just because you get eight years doesn’t mean you can slack up and say, ‘we’re safe.” said Taylor, who was a part of a 12-year no lost run at Chemical Lime’s Alabaster quary. “The lime industry is a changing environment, and you’ve got to stick with it.”

The streak makes O’Neal proud to say that its employees have been able to return to their families safely each day,. especially in the mining industry, but for Taylor, that’s not enough.

“[Safety] is a way of life … We try to get all of our employees to promote safety, not just make it through the day,” said Taylor, who has been at O’Neal since 2003.

There have been 31 metal-nonmetal mining fatalities nation-wide so far in 2007, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, down from 55 in 1999.

The MSHA presents numerous honors each year for mine safety through its Sentinels of Safety program. O’Neal was one of the 2006 recipients this past September, when it received a Certificate of Achievement in Safety Award for its outstanding safety record of 81,125 employee hours worked without a lost workday injury. The minimum requirement for the award is 4,000 hours