The state of Arkansas recognized the Pine Bluff Arsenal for their safety efforts Wednesday during a ceremony.

The state of Arkansas recognized the Pine Bluff Arsenal for their safety efforts Wednesday during a ceremony.

Representatives from the Arkansas Department of Labor, Arkansas Insurance Department and the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission presented Arsenal Commander Col. Chad Bauld with the One Million Man Hour Award.

The award represents approximately 739 employees who accumulated one million work hours without a lost day away from work due to a work-related injury or illness between Aug. 18, 2015, and March 31, 2016.

"We are here today because Pine Bluff Arsenal is working at historically safe work levels," said Mark Lumpkin, Arsenal director of Risk Management and Regulatory Affairs. "This award is reserved for employees who have an effective health and safety program."

Lumpkin said in 2006 the Arsenal recorded 20 lost-time injuries during the fiscal year.

"Due to hard work by management and the employee safety teams, that number was reduced in 2015 to five lost-time injuries. Four of those injuries had occurred by June of that year," he said. "This year we have zero lost-time injuries. By March, we reached the one million mark, and today we are at the 1.3 million mark. That is the longest period of time in our history."

Pat Hart, director of the health and safety division of the Workers’ Compensation Commission, congratulated the Arsenal.

"This is truly remarkable," she said. "I go to a lot of these events, and I hear the word ‘historic’ a lot. You have made a huge impact by the way you work, treat one another and how you approach your jobs. The real award you get from this is the fact you get to go home every day safe. You are more important. This is the real award and real prize."

Hart said the thing she has noticed the most over the years is once a milestone or award is reached, accidents creep back in and focus is lost.

"I am going to challenge you to not let that happen and keep on doing what you are doing," she said. "Safety is not a destination. It is a journey. It is something you have to do day in and day out."

These safety awards for companies in Arkansas have been presented since 1976 by the Arkansas Department of Labor. A highlight of the job is getting to present one of these safety awards, Ralph Hudson, deputy director of the Arkansas Department of Labor, said.

"During the course of a year, we are somewhere in the four corners of this state recognizing industry and others for being safe," Hudson said. "It is a big deal to know that the overall concept of safety for the Arkansas worker is important. The proof is in the pudding."

Safety is paramount, Hudson said.

"It impacts you going home safely. You go home with all your hands, feet, sight, hearing and ultimately your life – that is paramount. When a lost-time accident occurs, it goes all the way up the food chain, usually resulting in a delay in production, hiring, expansions, and may ultimately effect the fiscal bottom line of that company," he said. "When the front line buys in from what is handed down from the top that is how you get to a million, two million and three million hours."