By Megan Greve
Safety evaluations will become a mandatory part of all non-faculty employee performance evaluations beginning July 1. The safety evaluation initiative is a new addition to Ohio University's Workplace Safety Initiative (WSI) and was recently introduced to staff in an all-campus e-mail from President Roderick J. McDavis.
All classified, administrative and supervisory employees will be evaluated according to their support and implementation of the WSI, which was put into effect at the beginning of the 2008-09 academic year.
Joe Adams, environmental health and safety director, said that the growing loss of employee work hours due to injuries along with a money-saving opportunity for Ohio University prompted the adoption of the WSI. Adams said worker's compensation claims cost the university approximately $2 million each year.
Safety evaluations will be performed on the same rating scale as the current system -- a rating of one signifies improvement is needed, two states that expectations are being met and a three indicates an employee exceeds expectations in that area.
A one rating is received when an employee does not follow safety rules, does not promptly report hazards or safety incidents and does not attend safety training. Supervisors receive this rating when they do not effectively communicate safety information to employees and do not enforce safety rules or regularly investigate safety incidents.
A two rating is reserved for employees who follow and practice safety rules and report safety hazards. An employee earning this mark will also investigate incidents and participate in safety programs and committees when asked. Supervisors with this ranking regularly hold safety meetings, see that employees follow safe practices, teach safe practices and take corrective measures when needed.
Employees who earn a three or "exceeds expectations" review follow all safety practices, actively participate in safety committee work and volunteer for incident investigations, safety audits and safety training. Supervisors who earn this rating make sure all employees are properly equipped and trained in workplace safety, involve employees in establishing and enforcing workplace safety rules and reward staff safety accomplishments.
Adams said all employees can benefit from WSI initiatives because even office workers can be injured due to slips and falls, lifting heavy objects, carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive motions.
Adams said he wants all employees to know the EHS department is willing and available to provide a variety of safety training workshops to all university groups. He added that his department's efforts are all geared toward accomplishing its ultimate goal of no workplace injuries.
"Is a 50 percent reduction in injuries satisfactory?" Adams said. "No. Why would we think it is OK for anyone to suffer an injury? We want all injuries to stop. That will always be our goal."