Baptist Hospital Earns National And State Recognition For Reducing Staff Injuries While On The Job


Nashville, TN ( - According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics employees in nursing and personal care facilities suffer over 200,000 work-related injuries and illnesses a year. Many of these are serious injuries and more than half require time away from work.

Baptist Hospital has earned recognition both nationally and in Tennessee for its efforts in decreasing patient handling injuries, falls and needlestick related injuries and its overall associate injury rate by more than 50 percent between 2008 and 2011. One of the most common causes of injuries to patient care staff who work in the hospital setting is from lifting and handling patients.

As part of a voluntary site survey, Baptist Hospital recently demonstrated those improvements to the Tennessee Occupational Safety & Health (TOSHA) division of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Karla Davis today announced Baptist Hospital becomes the first health care facility in the state of Tennessee to receive TOSHA's Voluntary Protection Program STAR Award. There are currently 37 Volunteer STAR sites in Tennessee. Baptist Hospital is also one of only 14 acute care hospitals to join this elite status in the United States. Davis made the official announcement and presented the Volunteer STAR (Safety Through Accountability and Recognition) during a ceremony on June 28 at Baptist Hospital in Nashville.

The Volunteer STAR award is the state's highest honor for workplace safety and health and a nationally recognized program. The Volunteer STAR is patterned after the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and recognizes the best of the best in the area of safety and health programming and performance.

“Baptist Hospital has met the evaluation standards required to receive this award by proving their ability to provide an excellent safety and health management system," said Davis. “It's evident that Baptist Hospital and its employees are extremely dedicated to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.”

For the three-year period from 2009-2011, Baptist Hospital's safety record indicates:

  • A three-year Total Case Incidence Rate (TCIR) of 6.19 – 12 percent below the current Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) industry average
  • A three-year Days Away from Work and Restricted Activity and/or Transfer Incidence Rate (DART) rate of 2.14 – 24 percent below the current BLS industry averages

In addition, the hospital's accomplishments include:

  • Lowering its overall associate injury rate by 50 percent from 2008-2011.
  • Reducing patient handling injuries by more than 74 percent from 2008-2011.
  • Dropping needlestick injuries by 47 percent from 2008-2011.
  • Reducing associate falls by 32 percent from 2008-2011.

“We really want to serve as a model for other hospitals in Tennessee and across the country by integrating associate safety into everything we do,” said Renee Kessler, chief operating officer for Baptist Hospital. “We want to keep our own employees safe first so they're then able to take care of the patients we serve.We took this monumental step in focusing on this because we believe in taking care of our people. It's the right thing to do.”

Baptist Hospital has nearly 2,000 employees. The hospital put various practices into place to reduce its associate injury rate. Efforts included:

·         Increased usage and awareness of patient handling equipment, including slide sheets and patient lift devices.

  • Implementation of safety devices to eliminate needlestick injuries.
  • Creating committees focused on needlestick injury prevention and patient handling.
  • A reporting system to identify potential hazards
  • Safety coaches to coach, train and encourage safe behavior with frontline staff
  • Education on various safety techniques
  • Daily huddles with leadership and staff
  • Recognition of staff who identify potential harm

“We have a culture of safety at Baptist Hospital that is proactive and not reactive,” said Amy Williamson, OSHA VPP Coordinator for Baptist Hospital. “Our goal is to prevent harm by being aware of and reporting it before anything happens to another associate or patient.”

A plaque of recognition is awarded to the STAR recipient, as is a flag that can be flown at the site. The company is also permitted to use the Volunteer STAR logo on its correspondence and company documents.

The standard for participation in the STAR program is the confirmation of a company's safety and health program, which helps reduce accidents and injuries. The program also allows employers to be removed from programmed compliance inspection lists for a period of three years.

For more information on the Volunteer STAR award program and other TOSHA award programs contact TOSHA Nashville office at (800) 249-8510.

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