Pencil maker honored for safety

Despite the large number of fast-moving cutters, sanders, slicers and shavers at the Wagner Pencil Co., the plant's 23 workers have managed to avoid a serious accident since the company began keeping track in 2002.

This caught the eye of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which recently awarded the Chattanooga area's only pencil manufacturer the Tennessee Governor's Award of Excellence for Workplace Safety, said Jim Flanagan, manager of the voluntary protection program at Tennessee OSHA.

"It's very prestigious, we typically present about only eight of these a year out of 140,000 employers in the state," Mr. Flanagan said. "Wagner had to work at least 100,000 hours without a lost-time injury, and they worked 451,000 hours."

Wagner Plant manager Ray Phifer said he just wants "everybody to work safely, and leave with everything they came in with."