The Academy Awards may be synonymous with the glitz and glamor of Southern California, but the evening's real stars -- the iconic trophies themselves -- actually boast local, New York roots.
Believe it or not, the Oscar is manufactured here in the Hudson Valley. And The Work Place at MidHudson Regional Hospital helps workers at Polich Tallix, an internationally known metal foundry in Walden, stay healthy and safe.
In 2015, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided to return to the original process of casting bronze. They chose Polich Tallix, an art foundry started in the late 1960s by artist Dick Polich that quickly became the go-to place to go for both traditional and avant-garde artists, such as Roy Lichtenstein, working in metal.
While the foundry has produced celebrated works of art, it’s far from the healthiest environment. “It’s dangerous, and it’s dirty,” said Nevin Littlehale, safety and quality-control supervisor at the foundry. Temperatures around the metalwork can approach 3,000 degrees, and the jobs can range from a 13-pound Oscar to a 9-ton sculpture. That makes occupational healthcare imperative, and it’s where The Work Place at MidHudson Regional Hospital — a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) — comes in.
The Work Place offers Hudson Valley-based companies occupational health services, like training, testing and screenings, both on-site and at the hospital. “We offer a multitude of health-testing options,” said Ann Vokes, director of The Work Place and MidHudson Regional Hospital’s Employee Assistance Program. “Over 250 companies, organizations, school districts, fire and police departments participate in our programs.”
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