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Bunner Named James M. Christie Award Winner

Matthew Bunner, safety manager for Mulzer Crushed Stone Inc., has been named the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association’s 2015 James M. Christie Safety & Health Professional of the Year. The award recognizes an individual for substantial contributions and commitment to safe and healthy operating practices within his or her company and the industry.

Bunner’s developed an aggressive safety audit program that enabled Mulzer Crushed Stone to significantly reduce hazards. He developed compelling training materials that increased the support for safety training among workers and management. Bunner has taken a lead in presenting operator perspectives on compliance to MSHA senior leaders during the agency’s stakeholder outreach tours, and has continually sought to make the company’s operations safer and healthier. In fact, these efforts have also helped to substantially reduce Mulzer’s workman’s compensation rates.

“Matt has made a substantial impact on safety and health throughout the entire United States,” said NSSGA President and CEO Michael W. Johnson. “Advocacy is Job No. 1 for NSSGA, but truly safety is job No. 1 for aggregates operations around the country. Matt’s diligent work and achievements clearly illustrate our industry’s commitment to working to reduce injuries in support of NSSGA’s guiding principles of optimal workplace safety and health.”

Bunner, a Certified Mine Safety Professional, is an active member of NSSGA’s Safety and Health Committee, which develops and implements best practices for safety and health and urges MSHA to focus regulatory and enforcement resources on areas of greatest risk. He is also a two-term chair of the Indiana Mineral Aggregate Association’s (IMAA’s) Safety Committee, and previously received the IMAA’s President’s Award for distinguished service.

The James M. Christie Safety and Health Professional of the Year award was created in 1987 by the National Stone Association (NSA) in recognition of Jim Christie, the corporate safety director for Vulcan Materials Company, after his death. Christie was an industry leader who, in the early 1980s, challenged a young MSHA agency to focus regulations on the safety practices of manager and worker behavior, and not strictly on a facility’s conditions. NSSGA continued this tradition when NSA later merged with the National Aggregates Association.

The James M. Christie Award will be presented as part of NSSGA’s Opening General Session, March 21 at NSSGA’s 2016 Annual Convention in Nashville.