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Chicago Daily Herald
Naperville Park District staff are encouraged to look for ways to improve safety both for staff operations and for the public visiting parks and facilities. Competing for small grants through the park district's safety committee, staff submits ideas for safety improvements each year. In summer 2018, Trevor Stibbe, John Teper and Ben Palczynski submitted their design and demonstration of a dust shield for the park district's ballfield raking equipment and won not only an $800 park district grant but also received one of the grants awarded statewide from the Park District Risk Management Agency (PDRMA) in the amount of $1,500. Park district staff members ride a ball rake — a baseball field tractor that pulls a rake behind it — to comb the infields of more than 30 baseball fields each year.
During dry summer conditions, the raking kicks up dust that can be inhaled, irritate the eyes, and settle on clothing, even though staff wears personal protective equipment. Stibbe, Teper and Palczynski designed and tested a plastic dust shield that attaches to the back of the ball rake and redirects a majority of the dust from reaching the employee driving the vehicle. The park district has applied for a U.S. provisional patent for the dust shield. "I would like to congratulate Trevor, John and Ben on the hard work they put into this project," said Safety Manager Becky Cooper. "With these grant funds from PDRMA we will now be able to implement the dust shields on all of our baseball field tractors. Their innovative idea will make our workplace safer and healthier." "The Naperville Park District has a culture of creativity and innovation, allowing employees to do what they do best, which is to provide great service to our taxpayers while always looking for ways to be more efficient and fiscally responsible," said Executive Director Ray McGury. "Trevor, John and Ben are great examples of the outstanding work and dedication our park district staff provides day in and day out."
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