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Janet Barker of the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration presents a Voluntary Protection Programs Star award to Steve Rowland, manager of the Lawton CINTAS operation, and other employees in a ceremony Friday.

CINTAS recieved safety, health star

Lawton's CINTAS uniform supply operation on Friday became the first site in the city to be recognized by a federal worker safety program.

Local employees and corporate officials joined to celebrate the Lawton CINTAS site's being named as a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) Star, one of just 39 in Oklahoma.

According to OSHA, the award recognizes "employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries."

Jason Schreppel, manager of the Lawton branch from 2005 until 2013, said when he arrived the local operation's safety program was "anything but a cause for celebration," ranking at or near the bottom in worker safety statistics.

Month by month and year by year, he said, safety improved through the hard work and dedication of the employees.

"Without the buy-in of the partners, we would not be here today," he said.

"You came through and you've continued to come through for seven consecutive years."

"It's a family thing," said Dr. Rich Gerelach, health and safety director for CINTAS. "You work together as a family and you watch out for each other."

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