The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) and Texas Department of Insurance recently recognized Baptist Retirement Community (BRC) for its exemplary workforce safety program and low rate of work-related injuries and illnesses. Deputy Executive Commissioner Matthew Zureck recently presented the Lone Star Safety Program Award to the BRC team members at a special award ceremony. The senior living community was nominated by its Occupational Safety and Health Consultation Program (OSHCON) consultant, the person who regularly checks the community to make sure it is adhering to safety requirements. The DWC Lone Star Safety Program recognizes Texas employers with exemplary safety programs which can serve as models for other employers. To qualify for the program, employers must have a proven safety program, injury incidence rates below the national average for three years prior to application, and no work-related fatalities within the prior 12 months.
“We are pleased to receive such a distinguished award,” said Mary Smith, director of human resources for Baptist Retirement Community. “Often, a building within a campus or organization will win the award, but in our case the entire community – which consists of 250 employees – was presented with the Lone Star Safety Award. This is such a rarity, and we applaud our team for going above and beyond to make sure our community is a safe place for themselves, residents and visitors. We are truly honored and will continue to work at improving our best practices in any way we can.”
To help make sure the community consistently exceeds standard safety requirements, Baptist Retirement Community developed a Safety Committee. This committee meets four times a year and looks at what the community is currently doing and then analyzes ways it can improve. They look for ways they can educate team members on potential hazards. For example, they might teach the landscaping and lawn crew about the importance of staying hydrated and raising awareness for insect bites, or they might educate the therapy department on monitoring back safety for employees.
“Our safety committee also looks for things that our OSHCON consultant analyzes when she visits the community,” said Smith. “They check breaker boxes, keep their eyes open for tripping hazards, analyze the locations of chemicals and make sure each one is labeled correctly, and they ensure that there are clear escape paths and available fire extinguishers in case of an emergency. They check the functionality of things like eye-washing stations to ensure they are working properly, and they also help educate team members on new equipment or new chemicals that are available for their use.”
All Texas employers with workers’ compensation coverage, and employers without workers’ compensation coverage that have five or more employees are eligible for the Lone Star Safety Award. The Lone Star Safety Program automatically considers companies that are participants in the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) to be eligible for the Lone Star Award.
“I am really proud to work for a company that supports and demands a safe environment for its employees, residents and visitors,” said Smith. “This is the highest recognition a company can receive in the state of Texas for maintaining a safe environment. In receiving this award, we now have the responsibility of helping other companies achieve this level of safety, and we are looking forward to being mentors.”