Steve Greeley with the state Department of Labor, left, presents an award for workplace safety to Sidney fire Chief Richard Jandreau, second from left, and Rescue Chief Dan Courtemanch. At right is Desiree Lynn Hersom, administrative assistant to the Sidney Select Board. Courtesy photo

SIDNEY — The state recently announced Sidney received an award for meeting workplace safety standards set by the state Department of Labor.

The Safety and Health Award for Public Employers (SHAPE) is given to public-sector employers that maintain an exemplary safety and health management system. Jessica Picard, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Labor, said in an email there are around 2,400 public sector workplaces in Maine and only 85 have earned the SHAPE distinction. Of that number, 17 are municipalities.

The administrative assistant for the town, Desiree Lynn Hersom, spearheaded Sidney’s effort to get SHAPE certified.

“I felt like everybody here just goes above and beyond looking out for each other and deserved it,” Hersom said, explaining that according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the town has had no work-related injuries or illnesses since 2017.

Inspectors with OSHA and the Department of Labor conducted inspections late last year and combed through Sidney’s office buildings for physical defects, incorrect documentation or other irregularities, “right down to if an employee has ibuprofen in their desk,” Hersom said.

Sidney had to make some “small tweaks” to qualify, like making sure all employees had a Hepatitis B vaccine, implementing ladder training and replacing some old safety data sheets.

For the three-year period a SHAPE certification is valid, an employer’s worksite is exempt from programmed state inspections. Sidney will officially receive the award at a Board of Selectmen meeting in March.

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