By Andreas Butler
For Hometown News
Andrea Ball is helping Daytona Beach become a safer place to work.
Ms. Ball is the city's Safety Officer and has been on the job for the past six years.
She was recently recognized by the National Safety Council as a "Rising Star of Safety" at the council's annual meeting. Ms. Ball was one of 44 young safety professionals selected from more than 165 nominees.
"It's a great honor, but it is reaction to the programs that we place here, and the cooperation and efforts of everyone here," she said.
In addition, Ms. Ball is credited with building a safety program and establishing a safe working environment for more than 800 city employees.
She also created a safety audit and job site inspection program. Her efforts have helped reduce the city's total annual average injury rate by 72.5 percent.
"It's not an easy task. It takes a lot of dedication and effort from the safety officer and employees to create a safe environment. One person cannot do it alone, it has to be a team effort," Ms. Ball said.
"She is an extremely hard working and self motivated person," Daytona Beach Risk Manager Mark Jones said. "She is often out in the field inspecting sites so she is heavily depended upon. Our reported injury claims have really decreased during her tenure. With the economy and budget cuts it has really helped the city's bottom line."
For those who don't know what a safety officer is, Ms. Ball has a simple explanation.
"Basically, evaluate a job site and ensure that there is safety for employees, the company and the environment. We go out and work with work crews and all the employees of the city to make sure that they are working safe and not creating hazards for themselves or others," she said.
Ms. Ball has a professional career working in safety. She spent nine years at Dupont in Tennessee before coming to Daytona in July 2006.
"It's been a wonderful experience and a pleasure working here to date. Building a program from the ground up has been challenging, but fun and exciting. Working with the wonderful employees has also been great. There has been support for building the safety program as well as maintaining it," she said.
Safety is a top priority issue in every aspect of a working environment.
"Safety conditions are important on any job because it improves the quality of life for the employee. They are not injured; therefore they can go home and do for their families. It also lowers the cost of workers compensation and medical insurance as well," Ms. Ball said.
Daytona has really come along in terms of working conditions for cities. In 2006 an accident at a water treatment facility killed two workers.
"In terms of other cities we are now at an above average safe working environment. We were a very dangerous place back in 2006 with the deaths during a water plant accident. We are improving everyday and working constantly at getting better. We want to become the safest city to work in," Ms. Ball said.