SOMC has earned the honor by the organization's all-encompassing approach to create a safe and healthy workplace for its 2,300 employees, Cooper said.
“Safety is our first strategic value,” she said.
Occupational Hazards is a news organization that informs safety, health and industrial hygiene professionals in the manufacturing, construction and service sectors about trends, management strategies, regulatory news and new products that help them provide safe and healthy work sites.
Every year, the 222-bed hospital admits about 13,000 patients, performs 12,000 surgeries and handles almost 80,000 emergency cases. Through it all, SOMC is dedicated not only to taking care of patients' needs, but ensuring employees are kept safe and healthy, as well, Cooper said.
Safety is listed first among SOMC's strategic values.
As part of SOMC's determination to go above and beyond expected safety policies, it has implemented a random audit program, an ergonomics team, a safety leadership team, a safety hotline and a healthy partners program, Cooper said.
SOMC created the Safety Champions program in 2005, to facilitate cultural change within the facility and highlight the importance of workplace safety.
Continually trained, safety champions' responsibilities include serving as liaisons for other employees, raising departmental safety concerns and assisting continual monitoring and readiness. SOMC has about 200 champions in the program.
Since the safety champions program has been in place, SOMC has reduced total recordable injuries by more than 30 percent, has reduced workers' compensation costs by more than 9 percent, has improved compliance with external governing bodies and has won several safety awards, Cooper said.
As a member of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Voluntary Protection Program Mentor Program, SOMC is taking steps to gain VPP Star status. Management said it believes achieving this goal can help SOMC continue to save lives, avoid worker injuries, reduce insurance and litigation and raise worker morale.
SOMC even has partnered with VPP Star status site Turner Construction for the facility's $110-million expansion.
Cooper says SOMC didn't want to just hire a construction company as an employee; they wanted a company with a proven safety record to act as a partner in this extensive project.
Employees also are rewarded and honored for creating new ideas on safety issues. When a nurse noticed SOMC's medication system placed the most-used drugs at the bottom, causing staff to bend over, she submitted her concern to the Ideas program. This incentives program rewards employees who submit safety-related ideas or solutions are approved by the safety leadership team.
Source: Jason Lovins, SOMC Marketing Communications Specialist