UA SafeState Program Earns National Award for Work During Pandemic

  • July 5th, 2021

A University of Alabama program that helps businesses with federal workplace safety regulations was recently honored for its work to meet the needs of employers during the pandemic.

a group of nine UA SafeState staff members
UA SafeState team from left: Dr. Jonathon Halbesleben, Dean; Matt Hollub, Associate Director; Matt Sprague, Health Consultant; Jean Wisdom, Safety Consultant; Tom Ten Eyck, Senior Safety Consultant; Russ Chappell, Data Technician, Sr.; Cindy Glasgow, Safety Consultant; Susanne Hibbard, Program Assistant; Renee Bell, Office Associate II. Not pictured: Randy Easterling, Safety Program Supervisor, Michele Erdman, Health Consultant and Donald Elswick, Executive Director

The UA SafeState Occupational Safety and Health Consultation Program was recognized with the On-Site Consultation Achievement Recognition, or OSCAR award, by the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The UA program received the award for safely maintaining continuous education visits during 2020, producing and distributing animated informational videos on safety and health topics, and for its monthly informational webinars.

“This award represents the accomplishments of an entire group of employees who put support of Alabama’s small business first during a difficult year,” said Donald Elswick, UA SafeState executive director. “We are happy this team is recognized nationally and look forward to continuing this high-level service to the state of Alabama.”

Started in 1979, UA SafeState, part of the College of Continuing Studies, works with companies, municipalities and organizations to find effective solutions to challenging environmental and occupational safety and health problems.

The SafeState Occupational Safety and Health Consultation Program is a free, confidential service provided to employers throughout the state of Alabama. Consultants go to workplaces and perform a survey to advise employers of existing or potential health and safety problems. The consultants suggest general approaches or options for solving those problems and provide a written report summarizing the findings. They can also identify additional resources or expertise if needed.

“Our consultants were unique amongst the state OSHA consultation programs regarding commitment to service during 2020.”

During the 2020 fiscal year, the SafeState OSHA Consultation Program recognized a need to continue providing on-site safety and health consultations to employers who were continuing to work during the pandemic where remote compliance assistance would not have sufficed. To meet this challenge, UA SafeState established itself as an essential service, enabling the program consultants to travel to worksites and continue delivering critical safety and health consultations.

The UA SafeState consultants visited 142 job sites from March through September 2020, a bit more than 90 percent of planned on-site consultations during that time. They identified 747 hazards, impacting 4,975 Alabama workers.

“Our consultants were unique amongst the state OSHA consultation programs regarding commitment to service during 2020 because of their innovative and relentless focus on providing on-site consultation that helped employers improve their workplace safety,” said Matt Hollub, SafeState associate director over the UA SafeState OSHA Consultation Program.

The program’s consultants also developed and delivered videos and webinars in response to the coronavirus pandemic, going beyond the scope of their normal duties. The effort, which includes topics on personal protective equipment and other pandemic-related safety concerns, continues in 2021.

For more information on the UA SafeState OSHA Consultation Program, please visit its website.


Adam Jones, UA communications, 205-348-4328,

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.