The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a federal research agency in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded the 2004 NIOSH-ACTE national occupational safety and health competition among teachers/instructors at career and technical schools and community colleges throughout the country. ACTE (Association for Career and Technical Education) (formerly American Vocational Association) advertises the safety competition and award in Techniques and on its website. A team of five NIOSH reviewers reviewed the papers. Iindependently and unanimously, the team chose Thomas D. Bates, career and technical teacher at Appleton North High School in Appleton, Wisconsin as the 2004 winner. Appleton North High School is a comprehensive secondary school. It is part of the Appleton Area School District. It opened in August 1995 and is the most recently built of the three four-year public schools in the district. The winner received a plaque and a $750 award for his winning paper, and his school received a $250 award. Bates receive his plaque and award at the ACTE National Policy Seminar (NPS) held in March at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. The audience consisted of approximately 500 people and included educators and VIPs from business, state governments, federal government, and even a few Congressmen and Senators. The award demonstrates excellence in promoting occupational safety and health in school laboratories, and Bates was recognized for his 10-part program, which includes safety and risk management, personal protective equipment, safety inspections, first aid practices, instructional techniques, equipment care and operation, housekeeping practices, fire safety, general practices and classroom rules. The program is being used throughout the Appleton School District and as an introduction to the Technology Safety Plan. When Bates first heard about the competition through Appleton Area School District Career & Technical Education Coordinator Mary Hultgren, he says, "At that point, our safety plan was still in its early stages, but I entered the competition and was awarded second place. This year, I completed the draft copy as well as 10 PowerPoint presentations to be used for staff in-service training. I entered the competition with the completed work and was fortunate enough to be awarded first place." When asked how important focusing on safety is to career tech education, Bates says, "The safety of our students and staff should be, and is, our primary concern in the Appleton Area School District. Students are exposed to safe working habits through daily instruction from our staff. With the staff practicing safe work habits and explaining why we work that way, our students seem to develop a strong understanding of how important safety truly is. By learning safe working habits now, our students will hopefully be safety conscious individuals throughout their lives." The Appleton Area School District Technology Education Safety Plan has been an ongoing project since the fall 2002.