Safety is no accident.
It’s our greatest responsibility.
According to DeWayne Hamlin, Medical Center Director, workplace accidents can happen, and will. “I believe that everyone, including our Veterans, benefits from a safe and healthful work environment,” says Hamlin. “And, I am committed to maintaining an injury-free and illness-free workplace, and ensuring our compliance with the applicable laws and regulations that govern your safety.” In the long run, employee safety ensures patient care. Providing a safe work environment is a part of the VA mission.
Yet, safe workplaces don’t happen by accident. They happen when safety is a primary concern and motivator for medical center leadership and staff alike, and when active steps are taken to plan a safe work environment. “When we can improve employee safety, the result is a better bottom line for Veterans,” says Hamlin. “When we do our best,” explains Hamlin, “to educate our workers on workplace dangers and safety concerns, we are taking a step in the right direction.”
“Our culture of safety begins with our front-line supervisors,” states Hamlin. “They have the greatest effect on how employees view the world inside their work areas and inside our medical center.” Supervisors as well as all staff receive formal safety training. However, supervisors bear the responsibility of constantly and consistently introducing safety concepts to their workers. “When supervisors actively emphasize a ‘safety mindset’, they can make safety a natural element in a worker’s day-to-day activities,” reminds Hamlin.
In celebration of National Safety Month, here are some strategies we are focusing one to enhance our culture of safety:
Maintaining a clean work area. The most productive work areas are clean, neat and organized. Not only will you remove many hazards from a work area by keeping it clean, but you will also provide a more productive work environment for staff.
Involving staff in the safety planning. There is no one on your staff who knows more about the potential dangers in your area than your employees themselves. Get their input and use their suggestions to engineer safety into their work areas.
Encouraging staff to bring safety deficiencies to our attention. Safety is everyone’s concern. Staff should be actively encouraged to promote workplace safety by reporting unsafe conditions, loose steps, burned out lights, defective equipment, overloaded sockets (i.e., any type of safety concern) for repair.
Encouraging staff to look out for the safety of each other. We’re a team with a common mission. We are important to each other as each of our actions interacts with and supports a fellow team member. When a team member is injured and cannot do their job, the entire team is affected and that affects the care we provide our Veterans.
“Safety is our greatest responsibility,” says Hamlin. “And we believe the clearest demonstration of respect for our patients, employees, visitors, neighbors and friends of Lexington VA Medical Center, is an unyielding commitment to safety.”
Lexington VA Medical Center Public Affairs