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The Safety Committee at Sanford Lab recently recognized five employees for their on-the-job safety performance
Erin Broberg

The Safety Committee at Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) recently recognized Alexis Novotny, Greg Crotty, Ricky Allen, Michael Harvey and Brooke Anderson for their on-the-job safety performance.

Alexis Novotny, Greg Crotty, Ricky Allen and Michael Harvey, Yates Cage crew

On a shift working the Yates Cage, infrastructure technicians Alexis Novotny, Ricky Allen and Michael Harvey heard an unexpected noise in the shaft. According to their supervisor, their response could not have been more perfect.

“From the hoist operator’s quick response after the stop signal to the ensuing inspection time devoted to the conveyances and shaft, your reactions were well done,” wrote Jack Stratton, former Yates Shaft Foreman, in his April nomination of the crew.

As soon as the noise was heard, hoist operator Greg Crotty responded to the signal and drew the cage to a stop. The technicians off-loaded those on the cage and stopped work. The cage and areas around it were inspected, with no visible damage to the conveyance or shaft, and the trip to the surface was resumed. When passengers were unloaded at the ramp, the crew did further inspections of the conveyance as well as the shaft, until it was determined there was no timber damage or unexpected debris on the timber. From the moment a “stop work” was issued until work resumed, the process took 40 minutes.

“This crew is continuing on with Jack’s commitment to safety,” said Pat Urbaniak, Yates Shaft Foreman. “The one thing that Jack did stress almost every day was to do your job as safe as possible and that safety was always a priority. Everyone has a responsibility to report and look out for each other, and Jack was quick to praise a job well done.”

Brooke Anderson, technical coordinator support for facility infrastructure

Daily acts of safety and attention to detail—while they may seem small—are the foundation of a safety-oriented workplace. Brooke Anderson noticed her coworkers working on a project that required them to work on their knees for extended periods of time. Realizing this could cause pain in following days, she suggested knee pads be used until the job was finished.

“Brooke started work with Sanford Lab working as the receptionist, with little experience with what goes on in the field,” said Dan Regan, surface operations foreman. “Since joining the Operations Department, she has been able to spend more time in the work zones underground and on the surface. This experience has helped in her understanding that we can all work together towards a safe and healthy work force.”

Sanford Underground Research Facility's (Sanford Lab) Safety Performance Awards are built to recognize employees who go over and above their normal duties. Although safety is everyone’s duty, many employees at Sanford Lab demonstrate above and beyond examples of the safety culture the ESH department hopes to cultivate.

The Environment, Safety and Health Department at Sanford Underground Research Facility promotes health and safety in the workplace, as well as healthy living and wellness for all employees. If you have questions about health and wellness, please contact our occupational health nurse, Laura Baatz, who is onsite daily at