SOMC Earns OSHA’s Highest Workplace Safety Leadership Status

eceiving the national gold standard for safety and health, Southern Ohio Medical Center has been awarded the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Designation. VPP is a cooperative program of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

A ceremony with presentations by OSHA officials was held Thursday, Nov. 6 in the SOMC Cafeteria.

By earning VPP Star status, SOMC is in the top 1 percent of hospitals nationwide in safety excellence leadership.

“We maintain a focus on continual process improvement for patient and worksite safety,” Leeann L. Sammons, vice president of Health and Safety, said. “This honor means SOMC demonstrates some of the safest practices in the nation for both patients and our workforce.”

To meet VPP criteria, SOMC has to exceed and then sustain specific requirements in leadership and employee involvement, worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, and safety and health training, Sammons explained.

“SOMC has been recognized at the Star level, which indicates that we not only meet the intent of the OSHA standards but we go above and beyond to make our hospital one of the safest in the country,” Penny Cooper, director of Worksite Safety at SOMC, said.

“VPP sites have been shown to have more than 50 percent fewer injuries and lost worker days than the national average,” she said. “Our journey began more than five years ago. After years of preparation, we submitted our application in the fall 2007 and received our site visit earlier this year.”

“With our recognition as a Magnet hospital in nursing, and being named to Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Places To Work For in America, this honor represents yet another step in our commitment to bringing the safest, highest quality, best health care available,” SOMC President Randy Arnett said.

“This national honor not only validates our commitment to the safety of everyone who steps through our doors, but helps attract the best and brightest professionals to our hospital and the community.”