College of Humanities & Fine Arts

Chico State 2021 Staff Safety Award Recipient Pete Austin

Pete Austin standing and holding a trophy

Nominated by Carmen Gomez

As long as Pete has worked at Chico State, his first priority has been to create a safe environment for staff and student employees. He spends hours training each student that works in the shop how to use every tool and piece of equipment. He doesn't allow anyone to use the equipment until he knows they can operate it safely and with respect. Pete takes his responsibility as a supervisor seriously. He keeps an eye on each student working in the shop to make sure they are working safely every moment. He keeps all of our tools and equipment clean and up to code. If the code changes to a higher standard, Pete makes sure our equipment changes to fit that new standard. He works with EHS and the fire marshal to maintain a safe environment that meets the highest standard, ensuring our students can feel safe each day.

During Pete’s 23 years at Chico State, there have been multiple examples of his above and beyond efforts in the area of safety. He took it upon himself to inspect our rigging chain. He found that it wasn't rated for the current safety standard. He then proceeded to research what is needed, amount needed as well as the cost of this new chain so we could make sure we were using the safest rigging equipment. He participated in a 16 hour "Competent Person" training. This training wasn't required for his job, but he attended the training to learn more about all aspects of safety in the workplace. He consistently inspects our equipment and make suggestions when he thinks any aspect of the shops or venues are falling short of the highest safety standards.

Pete makes it possible for everyone in the building to feel safe and secure as they go about their daily work and activities. We cannot praise him enough in the efforts and improvements he has made in the working lives of everyone in the Performing Arts Center. He saves the lives of his student employees every day because he is there to train them on how to work safely. He is there to supervise them and make sure they continue to work safely. We have a number of incredible staff working on this campus, but none more deserving of the award than Pete Austin.

Photo by Jason Halley / University Photographer