Release date: June 11, 1996
Release number: 96-144

Release Details

Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Ann Brown awarded the ""Chairman's Commendation"" today at CPSC's small business conference at the World Trade Center in New York to three small businesses for their successful safety innovations.

"I think these awards show clearly that any business, whatever its size, can contribute to making our world a little safer," said Chairman Brown. "A good idea that promotes safety can make a successful small business."

Lorine Caveness, president of Face Guards Inc. of Roanoke, Va., received the first award for her invention of a face guard that attaches to a batting helmet. As a sixth grade teacher and mother of five, Caveness first developed the face guard when a student was injured batting a baseball and when she saw that other children including one of her own were afraid to bat. As a participant on the conference's women's panel, Caveness will talk about her 25-year effort to market protective equipment for batters.

CPSC recently released a study on the ability of protective equipment to reduce injuries to children who play baseball. The study found that face guards on batting helmets could reduce 3,900 hospital emergency-room-treated injuries each year to children at bat. In 1995, the Dixie Baseball League, the second largest baseball organization for young children operating in 11 Southern states, mandated face guards on batting helmets.

Chairman Brown gave the second award to Roger Hall, president of Rogers Sports Corp. of Elizabethtown, Pa., for his invention of the Rogers Break Away Base. As head baseball coach at Elizabethtown College, Hall saw that base-sliding injuries occurred to players at all levels from children to professionals. When he could not interest sporting goods manufacturers in making a safer base, he developed one himself.

CPSC's baseball study found that safety release bases, such as the Rogers Break Away Base, could reduce 6,600 base-contact sliding injuries to children occurring in organized play. Currently, Little League baseball uses Hall's bases during its world series and, for the first time this year, softball played at the Olympics will use these safety bases.

Chairman Brown awarded the final commendation to the Safe Strap Company of Tappan, N.J., which was accepted by Paul Giampavolo, president of the company. Safe Strap makes seat belts for shopping carts to prevent children from falling out of shopping cart seats.

CPSC estimates that each year almost 12,000 young children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for shopping cart injuries. Giampavolo, who began his business in 1983 with $300 and has since sold 15 million seat belts, says he was inspired by a CPSC alert on these injuries he saw on television. In addition to the seat belts, Safe Strap founded a national supermarket child-safety committee to make consumers aware of the need to use seat belts.

In addition to these three businesses, the CPSC Chairman's Commendation has been awarded to: Toys "R" Us; Procter & Gamble; Sunbeam Plastics;Playskool, a division of Hasbro Inc.; Rollerblade Inc.; the International Inline Skating Association; the Whirlpool Corporation; and the American Furniture Manufacturers Association.

Chairman Brown initiated the commendation program to recognize substantial contributions to product safety by individuals, companies, or groups for one-time, ongoing, or multiple actions. Nominees for the award, which is given periodically, may be brought to the Chairman's attention. Chairman Brown will consider the following factors in choosing award recipients:

-- Actions that contribute to reducing hazards to children and other vulnerable populations;

-- Voluntary actions that are not mandated by government regulations, that anticipate government regulation, or that go beyond what the government requires;

-- Developments that affect the safety of large numbers of individuals;

-- Innovations or improvements to existing products; and

-- Safety devices, packaging, warnings, or products which enhance consumer safety.

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