Campus: CSU, Northridge -- July 30, 2001

CSUN Grounds Worker Receives Governor's Employee Safety Award

A Cal State Northridge grounds worker has been recognized by the state of California for developing the "trash bag poker," a device that removes excess rain water from trash bags to lighten their load and minimize the potential for back injuries.

John Siebenthal, with CSUN's Physical Plant Management, will formally be honored with the Governor's Employee Safety Award at a ceremony in Sacramento in August.

The award recognizes outstanding performance in individual state employees and groups who help to improve job health safety, respond to life threatening situations, and prevent and reduce the number of occupational injuries and vehicle accidents.

"John Siebenthal's innovative, creative approach to safety is refreshing, and we are honored to have a member of our department be a recipient of such a prestigious award," said Ben Elisondo, Physical Plant Management safety training coordinator.

Siebenthal's invention has been used in outdoor trash receptacles on campus since last year, and has proven effective when it rains.

This angled piece of copper tubing is placed at the bottom of trash cans and punctures trash bags when they become heavy enough with water. This innovative and cost effective device drains rain water from trash cans, removing excess weight that can cause back injuries when the bags are removed.

Siebenthal has helped maintain a clean and safe campus environment at CSUN for the past 16 years. He removes trash and debris daily from trash cans and performs basic ground maintenance including planting, raking leaves and trimming bushes.

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