On Thursday, October 9 the North Carolina Commissioner of Labor, Cherie K. Berry acknowledged the Burlington Fire Department as the first stand-alone fire department in North Carolina to achieve the Public Sector STAR safety award.
According to the North Carolina Department of Labor’s website:
Carolina Star Programs are designed to recognize and promote effective safety and health management. Management agrees to operate an effective program that meets an established set of safety criteria… ensur[ing] a safe and healthful workplace. Becoming a STAR participant shows employees and the community that your company is a leader in safety and health.
Some of the benefits of being a STAR organization include:
• Improved employee motivation to work safely, leading to better quality and productivity.
• Reduced worker's compensation costs.
• Recognition in the community.
• Improvement to safety programs through internal and external review.
• A safer workplace. STAR participant sites generally experience from 60 percent to 80 percent fewer lost workday injuries that would be expected of an "average" site of the same size in their industries.
“On top of keeping our employees safe… STAR will help us keep the number of claims [worker's compensation] down for the citizens of Burlington,” said Fire Chief, Jay Smith.
There are 230,000 employers in North Carolina, but only 103 of these have been named Carolina STAR sites. Furthermore, out of these 103 sites, only 8 of these have earned the Public Sector STAR award. STAR involves an extensive application process, including a score of at least 65 on the examiner’s rating sheet. The Burlington Fire Department finished the evaluation process with a score of 90.