New Ulm Medical Center wins state employee safety award
NEW ULM, Minn. 05/26/2003--
The New Ulm Medical Center has won the first Minnesota Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) “MNStar” award ever
presented to a hospital/clinic in Minnesota.
Only 10 other Minnesota companies have qualified
for this award, according to Robin Kelleher, acting commissioner of
the Minnesota Dept. of Labor and Industry.
The award recognizes companies where managers and
employees work together to develop safety and health management
systems that go beyond basic compliance with OSHA standards. This
results in both immediate and long-term prevention of job-related
injuries and illnesses to employees.
The statewide recognition comes after years of
making a concentrated effort to develop effective safety practices,
according to Lori Wightman, medical center president.
“The medical center decided several years ago to
focus on the importance of safety in our facility by making each
manager accountable for safety in his or her departments,” she said.
Managers became responsible for assessing hazards, training and
implementation of safety policies and procedures in their
departments. “Our managers took on the responsibility for safety and
then found ways for employees to share in the safety work. Employees
were encouraged to participate in department and medical center-wide
safety activities and share in the positive outcomes associated with
a safe workplace.”
Laurie Prim, the medical center’s safety officer
and manager of support services, said “our employees and physicians
are very conscientious in regards to safety. Everyone knows their
responsibilities and are very involved in our safety programs.”
Prim said Allina Hospitals and Clinics, the medical
center’s parent company, encouraged the medical center to apply for
the OSHA award “because our track record for safety has been very
good. Our employee illness/injury and lost time rates are well below
state and national averages.” MNStar companies have access to OSHA
consulting resources and are often used as a model for employers
seeking ways to improve their employee safety programs.
It took the medical center team almost a year to
prepare and submit the extensive application and supporting
documentation. After the agency reviewed the documentation of safety
practices and procedures, the agency sent three inspectors to conduct
an on-site survey at the facility. The inspectors spent four days
reviewing policies and procedures and interviewing about 100
After the on-site inspection, OSHA officials said
they would recommend presentation of the MNStar award. “Your safety
program is exemplary and deserves to be recognized publicly. Your
employees have made great contributions to this safety program,”
said James Collins, Minnesota Director for OSHA Consulting.
“Everyone at the New Ulm Medical Center should be proud of the job
you have done.”
OSHA will conduct an award ceremony in New Ulm
following the appointment of a new Commissioner of Labor and