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Limestone Sewer District wins employee safety award

LIMESTONE, Maine — The Maine Department of Labor presented members of the Limestone Water and Sewer Board with a SHAPE (Safety and Health Award for Public Employers) award on Dec. 20 for meeting state-defined health and safety parameters.

Candidates for this award must go through an inspection and correct any hazards state labor officials identify. Candidates must also ensure that their organization’s lost workday injury and illness rate (LWDII) and total recordable case rate (TRCR) are below state averages, and agree to notify the state before making any changes in the workplace that could potentially present new hazards to employees.

Limestone’s Water and Sewer District were notified in July that they had met all of the requirements. Maine Department of Labor Program Manager Michael LaPlante presented board members with the plaque last Wednesday.

The award carries a notable benefit: the district will no longer be subject to surprise inspections from now until July of 2019.

Limestone Water and Sewer District Superintendent Jim Leighton said he was surprised when the Department of Labor informed him that his operation was “a great candidate” for the award.

“I was told that we should go for it,” Leighton said, “so we decided to see what it was all about, and then applied.”

Once a department applies, state officials conduct a thorough inspection in which they go over all records, buildings and equipment, ensuring that everything is up to par.

“We take safety seriously, and are constantly writing grants for safer equipment,” Leighton said. “The board understands that, and I have an excellent crew that strives for safety.”

This isn’t the first time Limestone’s Water and Sewer District was recognized for their efforts, as they were awarded with the best-tasting water in Maine by the Maine Rural Water Association in 2015.

Leighton attributes the district’s statewide recognition to the hard work of everyone in the department.

“I’m backed by great employees and a great board,” he said.

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