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Quality Health Care Center earns it first SHARP award!

In April 2014, Quality Health Care Center located in North Port, Florida, became a proud recipient of the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) Award. The 120-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitative facility employs about 150 workers and prides itself in providing excellent health care, therapy and rehabilitation, assisting residents in getting back on their feet and back to their normal lives with the utmost speed and comfort.

Quality Health Center

“To continue to provide the excellent care, we need to continue to be safe. To continue to be safe we must continue to keep abreast of and stay in compliance with OSHA regulations so we can provide the safest environment for our workforce and residents. We wanted to do everything possible to promote a safety culture in the facility and so we contacted the USF SafetyFlorida Consultation Program,” says Ms. Lori King, Administrator, of the Health Care Center.

USF SafetyFlorida’s David Ashman and Mylene Kellerman had the privilege to work with the Health Care Center. “Working with and being guided by Mr. Ashman and Ms. Kellerman gave us an opportunity to improve the safety of our health center even more and improve employee engagement,” says Ms. Pat Edukonis, RN/Risk Manager. “The consultants’ assistance with observed electrical safety issues and the new revised hazard communication program requirements helped create a positive experience for our health care center”, continues Ms. Edukonis.

Safety practices also help boost employee morale and productivity. After the initial on-site consultation visit, management immediately put in place a suggestion box to encourage employee feedback regarding facility safety. The consult visit also helped the safety committee become more effective and productive thereby affording employees the opportunity to discuss safety tips and improve the work environment. Ms. Karen Preusz, Director of Nursing says, “When top management really cares, it speaks volumes. It sends a direct message to front line employees that they care about me. USF SafetyFlorida has been a very valuable resource for information. The SHARP award has empowered our staff to take pride in their workplace and allows them truly experience the fact that safety is everyone’s responsibility,” continues Preusz.

“Of course, the greatest success in participating in the SHARP program has been the reduction in reportable claims and increased safety awareness amongst employees, but we have also learned so much throughout this process,” says Ms. King. During 2013, Quality Health Care Center had both a DART and TRC rate of 3.6, in comparison to the 2012 BLS DART rate of 5.2 and TRC rate of 7.9 for the nursing care industry NAICS code 623110.

OSHA gives its SHARP award to small and medium-sized employers who operate an exemplary safety and health management system. To qualify, a company must do the following:

• request an on-site consultation from USF SafetyFlorida;

• involve employees in the consultation process;

• correct hazards identified by the consultant;

• implement and maintain a safety and health management system that adheres to OSHA’s 1989 Safety and Health Management System guidelines;

• maintain DART and TRC rates below the national average for the company’s industry;

• agree to notify USF SafetyFlorida prior to making any changes to working conditions or introducing new hazards into the workplace.

To learn more about USF SafetyFlorida and the importance of workplace safety and health, visit http://www.usfsafetyflorida.com/