My experience in BWC’s Safety Leaders Fellowship Program

By Kennedy Gardner, BWC Occupational Safety & Hygiene Fellow

Like many recent college graduates, I struggled to figure out what I wanted to pursue after graduating. I knew I wanted a good job where I could make a difference, continue to learn new skills, and start a rewarding career.

I found all of this when BWC offered me a position with its Safety Leaders Fellowship Program within the Division of Safety and Hygiene (DSH). The fellowship is not an internship; it is a full-time, two-year term position with benefits where I work alongside other professionals in the safety and health field.

I spend about 25% of my time as a fellow learning about the consultative services we offer by shadowing our safety consultants out in the field. I observe and assist the consultants on visits ranging from safety assessments to helping employers apply for a safety grant. Assisting employers with their safety and health programs is the most rewarding part of the fellowship for me, because I feel like I am making a difference in the real world of safety for everyday employees right here in Ohio.

In addition to shadowing the consultants, I’ve also had the chance to learn more about safety by completing training (in class and online) as part of the fellowship program. I have always loved learning, and I think it is awesome BWC supports continued education for its employees.

I have taken more than 25 training classes on occupational safety and health topics so far in my time here. These are the same training classes we offer to Ohio’s employers. The classes, available through the safety courses page on our website, range in topics from hazard communication to OSHA recordkeeping. They have provided a great foundation in occupational health and safety for me to build upon in the future.

As part of the fellowship, we work on different projects with various DSH program areas to advance BWC’s mission. For example, I have taken the lead with developing our new safety bulletins. These bulletins are meant to provide safety tips and resources about urgent safety topics affecting Ohio’s workers. We email them to targeted employers and post them on our website, so the information is available to everyone.

The first safety bulletin on power lawn mower safety is already available and another bulletin on trenching safety is in the works. Just knowing that the safety bulletins have the potential to help protect Ohio workers and that I was involved in the process was an awesome experience!

Getting the chance to learn from seasoned safety professionals, continue my education, and be a part of meaningful projects here at BWC are building the foundation to a rewarding career. I am thankful for the opportunity and excited about my future!

BWC chief executive visits southwest Ohio businesses to mark National Safety Month

Companies used BWC safety grants to reduce workplace hazards

BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud, second from left, visits staff at the nonprofit Friends of the Castle in Centerville. The business used a $20,000 BWC safety grant to purchase an elevator for clients with mental and physical disabilities.

BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud visited a nonprofit business in Centerville and a craft brewery in Cincinnati today to mark National Safety Month and thank the businesses for investing in safety.

In her morning visit to the nonprofit Friends of the Castle in the Dayton suburb of Centerville, McCloud watched staff operate an elevator the business purchased last year with a $20,000 safety grant from BWC. She later joined staff at MadTree Brewing Co. in Cincinnati to watch a $40,000 safety grant in action inside the brewery’s production area.

“It is truly gratifying to see our grant dollars at work for such a good cause — keeping employees safe on the job so they can return home healthy and whole each day,” said McCloud. “We are creating a culture of safety across this state, and it’s my hope employers across the state will follow the example of Friends of the Castle and MadTree Brewing.”

Friends of the Castle is a drop-in facility that annually serves 150 people with severe and persistent mental health disorders. Located at a converted residence, the facility offers peer support and activities that foster life and social skills. The company used BWC’s grant to purchase and install a vertical platform lift, similar to an elevator, to help staff and clients who struggle with stairs access the second floor.

 “We are a safe haven and a stepping stone for people who want to be a productive part of our community,” said Lisa Hansford, Executive Director of Friends of the Castle. “This grant made an immediate impact here, not only by reducing the risk of injuries, but by allowing us to expand our programs and services.”

BWC Administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud talks to head brewer Ryan Blevins at MadTree Brewing Tuesday about the dry-hop injection system, left, the business purchased with a BWC safety grant.

MadTree used BWC’s grant to purchase a dry hop injection system and an in-line bottle labeler and ink jet coder. The injection system eliminated the need for workers to climb ladders to add hops to fermentation tanks; the labeler reduced the risk for repetitive stress injuries.

“I have no doubt that we’ve avoided numerous injuries with the equipment the BWC grant helped us purchase,” said Ryan Blevins, MadTree Brewing’s head brewer. “Having to carry heavy buckets of hops up 40-foot ladders 20-plus times a day was a disaster waiting to happen.”

BWC allocates $20 million a year to its Safety Grant program, which funds equipment designed to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses for employers covered by the BWC system.

Observed each June, National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in homes and communities.

“We promote safety all year long,” said McCloud, “but National Safety Month is a great time for employers to reassess safety in their workplaces and commit to a safety mindset each and every day.”

Workplace safety a win for man and his best friend

By Melissa Vince, BWC Public Relations Manager

BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison presents a certificate of appreciation to Dr. Joe Geer, one of three veterinarians at the clinic, standing here with a patient, Tug.

Veterinarians and their staffs will agree that taking x-rays of animals can be challenging – they get agitated and can lash out by biting and scratching. Vet techs must also lift and restrain the animals that can weigh hundreds of pounds, and developing film can expose them to radiation and noxious chemicals.

One vet hospital in Reynoldsburg figured out that working with safety experts at BWC could help them access newer technology that reduces dangers to their employees, and also stress on the animals.

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Dr. Joe Geer and his staff gave BWC Administrator/CEO Sarah Morrison a close-up look at the new equipment.

The Rosehill Veterinary Hospital has been providing veterinary care for companion animals and some pocket pets since the early 1970s. Dr. Joe Geer and his staff partnered with BWC Safety Consultant Bev Morris to apply for a Safety Intervention Grant to purchase a new digital radiography and x-ray table that allows an immediate display of an image on a computer monitor, eliminating the need to hand develop films in noxious chemicals.

The digital images can be manipulated on the computer, reducing exposure to radiation during retakes. Eliminating retakes also reduces the required lifting and positioning of animals for a second time, which decreases the risk of bites and scratches and minimizes stress on the animals.

Now that’s a win for man and his best friend.

As impressive as the technology was, Tug quickly became the star of the demo.

Check out more on BWC’s Safety Intervention Grant Program here.