TSTC Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance graduate Annabelle Simons, center, holds a STEP Platinum Safety Management System award that she received for her work at Locke Solutions. Pictured with her are Michael Luck, second from left, Locke Solutions vice president, and Chris Coronado, second from right, Locke Solutions plant engineer.

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Texas State Technical College graduate Annabelle Simons recently received a STEP Platinum Safety Management System award for her work at Locke Solutions, a precast concrete manufacturer in Pearland.

The award is designed to recognize companies that put in the work to prevent workplace accidents, train employees and complete inspections.

“To be honest, I had no clue we were getting this award,” Simons said. “It caught me by surprise, but it was a great surprise.”

Simons, who earned her Associate of Applied Science degree in TSTC’s Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance program in 2021, has been the safety coordinator for Locke Solutions for just three months.

“Since I’ve been there, I’ve implemented a lot,” the Richmond resident said.

She described the day-to-day responsibilities that she fulfills in her position, including “toolbox talks” each morning with employees that give “safety kudos” to individuals who go above and beyond to keep their workplace safe. From there, Simons reviews and completes inspections, addresses any concerns and, above all, makes sure to connect with other employees.

“We are with the people we work with more than we’re at home,” she said. “Part of my job is making sure people are OK because if they’re thinking about something else, they’re most likely not going to be thinking of the work they’re doing. It’s my job to make sure they’re doing well personally and that they’re safe.”

Simons applies much of the training that she received at TSTC to her work.

“I use knowledge every day that (TSTC Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance instructor) Andrea (Skinner-Creeks) taught me,” Simons said. “She came from a plant experience, and going into a plant, I know certain things to look for — things that no other person would think of. If there was an accident, Andrea has taught and shown me the proper steps on how to handle such situations.”

Skinner-Creeks was thrilled when she received word that Simons had won the award.

“Annabelle’s winning this award brings me a sense of personal fulfillment in knowing that my lectures are valuable and that they’re actually being retained,” Skinner-Creeks said. “I hear students mention it to me all the time of how they apply the knowledge gained from my courses, but this definitely shows me the proof. I already know that Annabelle will do great things. I’m very excited to see her excel in her career.”

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance at its Breckenridge, Fort Bend County and Waco campuses.

In the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area, occupational health and safety technicians can earn an annual median salary of $58,170, according to onetonline.org. The website predicts that the number of such positions will grow throughout the state by 16% through 2028.

Texas employs the highest number of occupational health and safety technicians in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Registration for the fall semester at TSTC is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.

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