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MUSC repeat-winner in occupational
MUSC has been recognized for having the best safety record in the state
when compared to similar institutions.
During ceremonies this spring in Columbia, the S.C. Chamber of Commerce
presented MUSC with the Commendation of Excellence Award for the ninth
consecutive year; and in Myrtle Beach, the South Carolina Occupational
Safety Council presented MUSC with its Safety Performance Award for
These awards are given to employers who have the least amount of days
lost due to a work-related illness or injury. The criteria for the
awards are to have a lost-day illness and injury rate of less than one.
Both the medical university and medical center achieved high rankings.
The university achieved a lost-day rate of .16, while the university
hospital achieved a rate of .28. “We compare very well to other like
industries in South Carolina,” said Joe Avant, MUSC Occupational Safety
and Health Programs director.
MUSC has improved its lost-day rate fivefold during the past 10 years.
In 1999, the university sustained a lost-day rate average rate of .79.
Avant credits the institutions’ success to the blood-borne pathogen and
university safety committees, among other programs that monitor safe
practices by employees.
Another contributing factor of MUSC’s safety record is transition duty,
Avant said. This is when an employee has an injury that limits the
ability to perform their assigned tasks. Under this alternate work
program, the employee may complete other tasks while recuperating from
“If you can get people back to work, they seem to heal a lot quicker
than if they were at home healing from their injuries,” Avant said.
This is positive for both the employee and MUSC, because the employee
remains productive and MUSC saves money in workers’ compensation costs.
Even though the federal government, through the U.S. Department of
Labor’s Occupa-tional Safety and Health Administration, hasn’t issued
any new health care safety standards within the last eight years, MUSC
is taking a proactive approach to keep employees healthy, Avant said.
Some of the current initiatives include double-gloving to mitigate
needle-stick exposures, use of blunt structures, and the patient lift
A number of new initiatives undertaken at the university also
contribute to the overall success of the safety record. These
initiatives including hiring a bio-safety officer, Daniel Eisenman,
Ph.D., who ensures safe uses of biological materials in the labs. In
addition, the university has stepped up its ergonomic evaluations,
which are provided to employees as a way to promote the best working
conditions. Avant encourages the use of safe health practices by
everyone, and he urges new employees to take advantage of these
programs via online training sessions. A commitment by all employees
and managers to these initiatives will help maintain a healthy,
hazard-free work environment, which also will prevent workplace
injuries, he said.
The purpose of the Occupational Safety and Health Programs is to
provide a safe environment for all MUSC patients, students, employees,
and visitors. The division is committed to ensuring regulatory
compliance and customer satisfaction.
To request an ergonomic assessment or information on workplace safety,
contact Avant at 792-3053; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or for program
information visit http://www.musc.edu/fanda/risk/oshp/index.html.
MUSC’s Injury Prevention
Environment of Care (EOC)
Preventing All MUSC Injuries (PAMIC)
Engineering and Facility Safety
Institutional Bio-safety (IBC)
Institutional Animal Care and Use (IACUC)
Friday, June 6, 2008
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