My experience in BWC’s Safety Leaders Fellowship Program

By Meleesha Hodge, BWC Occupational Safety & Hygiene Fellow

After graduating from the University of Cincinnati in 2018, I struggled to figure out what career path was right for me. I had obtained my Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences but did not have much experience in that field. I knew to thrive in the job market I would need to develop skills and gain experience.

I was grateful to have the opportunity to work for BWC’s Division of Safety & Hygiene (DSH) as part of the Safety Leaders Fellowship Program*. During my time as an Occupational Safety & Hygiene Fellow, I’ve had the pleasure of shadowing and learning from BWC safety consultants, ergonomists, and industrial hygienists on about 85 consultative safety visits.

Some visits were on-site at Ohio employers, and since March 2020, I have assisted with virtual consultations. During these visits I actively participated in the delivery of DSH programs, products, and services to employers. I progressed from helping with pre-visit planning and employer research to making field observations, answering employer questions, making recommendations, and writing post-visit reports and correspondence. Each consultant I shadowed had their own unique way of how they did their jobs and shared their expertise with me whenever they had the chance.

Training and education are important aspects of this program. I completed more than 23 educational readings, more than 15 in-class trainings, and about 18 online courses within the first year, all centered around safety and health topics. After learning more about safety topics, I worked with BWC’s Education and Training Services staff members to create and revamp online training courses. One course I was particularly involved with revising focuses on preventing cuts and lacerations. This course educates employers on this topic and ultimately can reduce the number of claims from these types of injuries.

Meleesha Hodge performs a slip meter test that measures the coefficient of friction to determine if a floor or walkway is safe for use.

DSH managers assigned different projects to me that pertained to fulfilling DSH’s aim of making Ohio workplaces safer and healthier for the employer and their employees. For example, for the 2020 Safety Innovation Awards, I served as a project lead and coordinated meetings, took meeting minutes, and participated in semifinalist site visits and scoring of the innovations. For another project to promote health awareness, I had the opportunity to create the Wellness Wednesday Tips featured on BWC’s social media pages that highlight current health issues in the U.S. A few of the topics I prepared tips for were childhood obesity, fall prevention, and breast cancer awareness.

In my second year, I expressed interest in helping with BWC’s health and wellness initiatives and my supervisor created a great development plan to get me more involved in that specific area. That evolved into me joining our department’s internal wellness team, where I assisted by creating health bulletins and developing health activities for our staff members. In addition, I worked on projects for BWC’s Better You, Better Ohio!® health and wellness program. I realized my passion for health and wellness and am now pursuing my master’s degree in public health with a concentration in social and behavioral sciences online through the University of Florida.

Working for BWC has helped me find my passion and gave me the necessary knowledge and skills to move forward in this ever-changing workforce. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity to not only help save the lives of Ohio workers but to also discover a career path that would truly bring me joy!

*The Safety Leaders Fellowship Program provides recent college graduates in the fields of occupational safety and health, engineering, industrial hygiene, and/or physical/ natural sciences an opportunity to receive on-the-job training to build a professional career in the fields of occupational safety and health, ergonomics, industrial hygiene and risk management. Selected candidates are offered a two-year project/contractual position where they receive hands-on and classroom training along with mentoring and coaching by highly experienced professionals in all areas of occupational safety and health.

 

Amy Phillips’ family tragedy saved many lives

Lifeline of Ohio’s registration drive kicked off Oct. 8

By Adam King, Public Information Officer

Injury Management Supervisor Amy Phillips’ brother-in-law, Tim Rolph, was the kind of soul you never forget. At unexpected moments, Amy remembers his distinct laugh and how he was a cherished addition to the family.

The waves of grief are still there, even six years after he died falling from a ladder during a handyman job. But what comforts her without fail is how his sacrifice – and his decision to be an organ donor long before his death – saved and improved so many lives.

“It was what Tim and my sister wanted, to help someone else,” Amy said. “We didn’t have any idea how many people it would help until after.”

Lifeline of Ohio wants to make more people aware of their life-saving potential. The organization kicked off its online donor registration drive, “Don’t’ Wait, Save 8” on Oct. 8. Lifeline of Ohio chose 10/8/20 because every 10 minutes someone is added to the national donor registry, and every donor has the potential to save up to eight lives (and heal 75 more). In Ohio, about 3,000 people are awaiting an organ or tissue donation.

Amy said Tim was the perfect donor. His head trauma left all the organs in his body intact.

Lifeline brought care packages to the hospital and volunteers made blankets for his three sons, all now grown and in their 20s. Every step of the process felt like making decisions with lifelong friends, Amy said, and she’s still astounded at the number of people Tim helped.

A 65-year-old Ohio man with five children and nine grandchildren received Tim’s heart. He had been on the transplant list for a year, and now he’s back to golfing and spending time with his family. Every year he sends emails to Amy’s sister Lori to let her know how he’s doing.

Lori never met any of the recipients, but she wrote each of them before their transplants to tell them about Tim and the man he was.

  • Tim’s liver went to a 58-year-old Midwestern man.
  • His left kidney went to a 70-year-old New England woman.
  • A 43-year-old woman received Tim’s right kidney and pancreas.
  • Tim’s eyes, corneas and skin tissue were used among multiple recipients.

Amy and Tim both grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, and she knew him since the fifth grade. Lori didn’t meet Tim until she took a college visit to Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he was a freshman.

“It was a tragic accident, but it wasn’t a big decision to do this for our family. All of us were registered donors before this happened,” said Amy, adding Tim’s sons registered once they were old enough.

She said people often have misconceptions about eligibility, and she suggests visiting Lifeline of Ohio’s website to clear any confusion.

“I’ve heard a lot of people who said they’ve had cancer or they’re not sure if they would be a good candidate because of the meds they’re taking,” Amy said. “But there is so much they’re able to use. Definitely do your research before you make a decision.”

According to Lifeline of Ohio, there are nearly 7 million Ohioans who are not registered. Here are some quick ways to do it:

  • Register online with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
  • Complete a form and mail it in to the BMV.
  • Just say yes when you renew or receive your driver’s license or state ID card.

Combined Charitable Campaign CCC saves lives

BWC People – Making a Difference

By Adam King, Public Information Officer

Industrial Safety Consultant Specialist Tammi Nye is fighting for her life — again, making this year’s state of Ohio Combined Charitable Campaign especially poignant.
“The money you donate through CCC can change someone’s life or even save it,” said Tammi, who works out of the Toledo Service Office. “I don’t need CCC’s support for my health issue, but I’m sure countless others do – our loved ones, neighbors and friends, and others who have no support at all.”

In August, Tammi learned the disease that destroyed both of her kidneys is back, this time targeting the transplanted kidney she received five years ago. The disease – Glomerulonephritis syndrome – is extremely rare in women, and in 25 years doctors have made almost no headway in determining why it appears or how to treat it.
“The goal right now is to preserve the organ and not lose it,” said Tammi. “So you kind of feel like you aren’t necessarily back to phase one, but you’ve lost ground. The medications are a struggle with cost and insurance and pharmacy coverage. There’s always some battle to fight somewhere, essentially to survive.”

Tammi said she can’t imagine anyone battling a major health issue without financial stability. That’s one reason she accepted an at-large board position with the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio four years ago. The foundation serves 350 clients and distributes about $80,000 annually for medications, medical transportation, and supplements.

She said becoming a board member was a bit of a fluke. She responded to the organization’s Facebook post on Father’s Day to thank her living donor for giving her another year with her father. The director contacted her, and she’s been on the board since.

“You can feel you’re on your own if you don’t have an advocate or someone to educate you on certain things,” said Tammi, who uses her position to encourage organ donation, promote the foundation’s services, and share the ins and outs of being a kidney recipient.

Tammi said BWC was a lifesaver when she was hired in 2016. The year before that, and just two weeks after her successful kidney transplant, her employer of nearly 15 years told her that her safety manager position was eliminated.
Finding a new job wasn’t easy. Friends had to drive her to job fairs because she wasn’t allowed to drive for four months after surgery. Out of 40 jobs she applied for, BWC and a federal position were the only offers.

“So this must mean this is where I was meant to be,” she said.
Tammi started donating to the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio through CCC in 2017 and has continued every year since. In 2018, the Toledo office highlighted the foundation as a donation destination. Tammi already made her donation, but she offered to match her colleagues’ contributions dollar for dollar, which raised another $600.

Every dollar raised this year is important because the Kidney Foundation had to cancel its largest and most successful fundraising event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tammi hopes people consider the foundation during CCC, in part because BWC has its own small kidney transplant community — three employees have received one and another is a donor.

“Even with the disease reoccurring, I’m on the right side of this process with a new organ, and I’m the healthiest I’ve felt in years,” said Tammi.

The CCC runs through Oct. 9. We’ve raised $169,070, or two-thirds of our goal of $253,000, as of Monday morning. You can choose the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio using code 16040, or choose one of the many other deserving charities and organization in the 2020 Resource Guide. Visit myOhio.gov and click the myCCC button to start your donation or contact your area’s CCC coordinator for donation forms