Author Archives: Lucas Kidwell

Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance recognized as U.S. Best-in-Class Employer by Gallagher

Gallagher’s Best-in-Class benchmarking analysis identifies U.S. organizations that excel in optimizing employee and organizational well-being

Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI) participated in Gallagher’s 2023 U.S. Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey and was identified as an organization that excelled in implementing successful strategies for managing people and programs. KEMI ranked in the top 14% of the Best-in-Class winners for its comprehensive framework for strategically investing in benefits, compensation, and employee communication to support the health, financial security, and career growth of its employees at a sustainable cost structure.

Designations like Gallagher’s Best-in-Class Employer help current and potential employees understand and appreciate an organization’s workplace culture and people strategy, which are important differentiators as employers compete for talent in today’s labor market.

A U.S. Best-in-Class Employer, KEMI was assigned points based on its relative performance in:

  • Plan horizons for benefits and compensation strategies.
  • Extent of the well-being strategy.
  • Turnover rate for full-time equivalents (FTEs).
  • Completion of a workforce engagement survey.
  • Use of an HR technology strategy and its level of sophistication.
  • Difference in health care costs over the prior year.
  • Use of a communication strategy.

“KEMI understands that high employee expectations haven’t budged in the changing labor market and have regularly examined their formula to attract and retain talent,” said William F. Ziebell, CEO of Gallagher’s Benefits & HR Consulting Division. “In doing so, KEMI utilizes data, workforce feedback tools and clearly defined policies to provide competitive benefits and experiences that their employees value.”

“KEMI is honored to receive this recognition,” stated KEMI President & CEO Jon Stewart. “Ongoing review of employee programs is a priority to ensure we attract and retain the best talent in Kentucky’s workers’ comp industry.” Stewart continued, “We’re always encouraged when we hear from employees how much they appreciate our holistic approach to employee well-being, but the greatest satisfaction is how they care for our customers and one another.”

About KEMI

KEMI is Kentucky’s leading provider of workers’ compensation insurance with policyholders in all 120 counties throughout the state. We are rated A- (Excellent) by A.M. Best for our financial stability.

About the Best-in-Class Benchmarking Analysis

Gallagher’s U.S. Best-in-Class Benchmarking Analysis profiles statistically significant attributes of top-performing midsize (100-999 FTEs) and large employers (1,000 or more FTEs). Data from Gallagher’s 2023 U.S. Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey was interpreted to identify participants that excel in optimizing employee and organizational wellbeing.

About Gallagher

Gallagher (NYSE:AJG), a global insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting services firm, is headquartered in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. Gallagher provides these services in approximately 130 countries around the world through its owned operations and a network of correspondent brokers and consultants.

Media Contact:
Ryan Worthen
KEMI Communications

Posted June 17, 2024

Safety comes first at Owensboro Municipal Utilities

Owensboro Municipal Utilities (OMU), Kentucky’s largest municipally owned electric and water system, has provided utility services to the community for more than 100 years. OMU serves 27,000 electric customers and 26,000 water customers, plus OMU expanded services 25 years ago to provide telecommunications options that include high-speed internet.

In the following Q&A highlighting OMU’s safety culture, OMU outlines how training improvements and internal process enhancements help 160 employees safely keep the lights on, the water running, and the community connected.

What role does safety play in your organization’s culture?

The safety of our employees and the public is a priority for OMU. Establishing and maintaining a safe work environment for everyone is the shared responsibility of OMU management and all employees.

It is the responsibility of each employee to conduct all tasks in a safe and efficient manner, complying with all local, state, and federal safety and health regulations and program standards. Employees are required to actively follow OMU safety rules and are expected to exercise caution in all work activities.

In our industry, workplace safety concerns include electrical hazards; slips, trips, and falls; traffic and road safety; and interactions in the field. If an unsafe condition exists, action should be taken immediately to correct the situation, which includes notifying supervision.

All work-related accidents, injuries, illnesses, and near-miss incidents involving employees, vehicles, or equipment are to be reported to OMU leadership or safety department staff, no matter how minor they may appear.

To assist in providing a safe work environment for employees, along with a safe environment for customers and visitors, safety teams across departments have been established to provide employees opportunities for input and participation in safety program development and review.

What practices have you added to your program that helped improve your safety record?

OMU has increased:

  • Hands-on training and classroom training vs. online computer-based training.
  • Safety personnel headcount for greater focus on the safety of employees.
  • Overall safety training topics and frequency of training.

We’ve made improvements to internal safety processes and systems to better monitor safety concerns, developed departmental safety teams, and organized a sub-safety team to coordinate participation in OSHA Safe + Sound Week during 2023.

What impacts or benefits have you seen resulting from a strong safety program?

Increases in employee involvement and safety focus have led to decreases in OMU’s:

  • Number of injuries, severe injuries, or types of injuries.
  • Experience modification rating factor.
  • Workers’ compensation costs.

How has KEMI assisted in enhancing workplace safety and reducing claims?

KEMI has provided hands-on classroom training; offered feedback on where to find training; and helped manage and communicate about work comp claims to get employees back to work. KEMI representatives assist wherever help is needed.

What notable safety milestones or recognition has OMU achieved during the past several years?

Our team effort approach to safety has resulted in the following accomplishments:

  • American Public Power Association (APPA) for reliable and safe electric service:
    • Gold designation – 2001, 2007, and 2009.
    • Platinum status – 2013 and 2016.
    • Diamond designation – 2017 and 2021.
  • OMU Production Department – 500,000 hours without a lost time accident in 2015.
  • OMU Customer Service Center 500,000 hours without a lost time accident in 2016.
  • OMU companywide – 500,000 hours without a lost time accident in 2020.

KEMI honored by Sayre Christian Village as Volunteer of the Year

On Wednesday, April 17, Sayre Christian Village (SCV), a nonprofit retirement community in Lexington, Kentucky, hosted a gathering to celebrate volunteers who have served at SCV.

During the celebration, Sayre Christian Village CEO Karen Venis expressed appreciation for KEMI’s enthusiastic response to SCV’s calls for volunteers, commented how KEMI is always there when needs arise, and presented KEMI with the Sayre Christian Village 2024 Volunteer of the Year award.

Individual SCV residents were also recognized for their volunteer contributions, and all attendees were invited to mix and mingle during a reception immediately following.

Serving others is at the core of KEMI’s vision, mission, and values. Anyone interested in learning more about KEMI’s community engagement efforts or sharing information about charitable organizations is invited to contact KEMI here.

Edmonson County Schools saves on premium, invests more in students

The Edmonson County Board of Education (BOE) has been successful in lowering its workers’ compensation experience modification rating, which saves on premiums and allows financial resources to be redirected for student support. In this Q&A, Director of Facilities & Safety Callie Beliles explains how a culture of workplace safety helps to make this possible.

Please briefly describe your primary business operation.
We are a small school district in south central Kentucky comprising five wonderful schools. There are two elementary schools, one fifth and sixth grade center, one middle school, and one high school.

What role does safety play in your organization’s culture?
We have a strong dedication to workplace safety, which we strive to instill daily into our 425 employees and nearly 1900 students. We have a documented commitment to safety through our quarterly district-wide safety team meetings and conduct a monthly safety meeting at each location. Over the last several years, our board has dedicated funds to make our facilities safer for our students and staff.

What are some of the workplace safety concerns unique to the educational environment for Edmonson County BOE?
The school district has several older facilities that were modified to meet codes and laws for school safety in today’s climate. Financial challenges limit our ability to purchase state-of-the-art equipment; however, we have utilized federal and state grants to make sure that the safety of our schools is our number one priority.

What practices have you added to your program that helped improve your safety record?
We have added more 3M safety film to all our schools and have utilized free training through one of our suppliers to ensure our employees have their required OSHA certifications and various other trainings. We’ve purchased new equipment for our custodial maintenance staff, such as new tools, furniture movers, and rollers for trash cans, and we are paving paths to dumpsters and improving lighting in our parking lots. Plus, our safety director does monthly walk-throughs of our facilities.

What impacts or benefits have you seen resulting from a strong safety program?
The most important benefit is that we have our staff and students present and healthy. By keeping our staff at work, we are able to educate our future. Having such a low experience mod has allowed us to save funds on our insurance premiums that we can directly use to support our students.

How has KEMI assisted in enhancing workplace safety and reducing claims?
KEMI has mainstreamed a lot of our reporting, and the professional support has helped our employees have a seamless experience during recovery. Also, the return-to-work program has allowed our employees to be back on the job much sooner than they normally would. The training KEMI provides for our school district has been crucial for educating our employees on how important workplace safety truly is.

What notable safety milestones or recognition has the Edmonson Board of Education achieved during the past several years?
We have received the KEMI Destiny Award for Excellence in Safety two times. This is an accomplishment our board, superintendent, and entire school district take immense pride in achieving. Our experience mod has decreased annually for several years, and as safety director, I am encouraged by the fact we have been able to make a good experience mod even better, which has a direct, positive impact on our students.

Keeping our staff and students safe is our number one priority, and we have infused this mindset into our daily culture.

Introducing the KEMI Help Center via

Introducing the KEMI Help Center via

KEMI recently launched a user-friendly information center for employers, agents, claimants, and providers.

The KEMI Help Center was created so that users can easily search self-help resources by keyword or phrase for quick answers to worker’s compensation questions about:

  • Kentucky requirements for worker’s comp insurance.
  • Applying for coverage.
  • The audit process and how it works.
  • Steps to follow if there is a claim.
  • Agency appointments to represent KEMI.
  • Medical bill information.
  • Employer access to free safety resources.
  • And much more!

The KEMI Help Center is accessible on via “Frequently Asked Questions” links from the main menu or by clicking on Log on today and explore a wealth of information.

Industrial Field Maintenance protects greatest asset: Their people

Industrial Field Maintenance (IFM), a family-owned steel and construction service company located in Ewing, Kentucky, operates two steel fabrication shops that provide services in piping fabrication and installation, mechanical equipment repair, and boiler repair.

Safety Manager Garrett Rumford explains how the company’s dedication to high safety standards, which produces quality results, puts IFM at the top of their field in plant maintenance services.

How does safety factor into your organization’s culture?
Safety is not just our top priority – it is a core value ingrained in our culture. As a veteran of the trades, our vice president sets the tone for safety in our organization. Through his experience, in both the field and as an owner, he believes that no job is worth doing if it’s not done safely. Because of this philosophy, all IFM employees, regardless of position, know that safety must come first.

Are there workplace safety concerns unique to your industry?
As a maintenance contractor and custom fabricator, our company encounters a variety of hazards with all jobs depending on the project scope and location. We frequently perform work in power generation facilities, chemical plants, steel mills, and paper mills. Each industry comes with its own specific hazards that include, but are not limited to, cranes and rigging, hot work, work from heights, lockout/tagout (LOTO), respiratory hazards, equipment operation, and many more. Because of these hazards, our team works to ensure all employees are properly trained in hazard recognition and prevention strategies specific to each industry.

While we work in several locations where IFM has a consistent presence, we often encounter scenarios where we are working at a site for the first time. In these instances, it is imperative that our team maintains thorough communication, both internally and with the client. Every project for us is an opportunity to be a valued partner to our customers, and one of the best ways to accomplish that is to focus on safety up front and then follow through with that initiative until project completion.

What practices have been added to IFM’s program that have helped improve your safety record?
IFM has sustained an exemplary safety record since our company’s start-up in 2016. Even with the absence of injuries, we understand that we still have opportunities for enhancing workplace safety. Over the past year, we have implemented several initiatives to help drive continued improvement that include:

  • Implementation of Safety Flash Alerts.
  • Biweekly Safety Meetings.
  • Weekly Training/Toolbox Discussions.
  • National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Accreditation.
  • Learning Management System (LMS) Implementation.
  • Cross-training.
  • Continuing Education for IFM Safety Department.

What impacts or benefits have you seen resulting from a strong safety program?
The data alone helps paint a picture of the results of a strong safety program, but we have been driving the focus toward leading indicators rather than the lagging indicators, such as total recordable incident rate (TRIR); days away, restricted, or transferred (DART); and incident rates.

Overall participation has increased significantly this year as frontline supervisors have taken a more direct approach in leading safety discussions and reporting. The more our program improves, the more we find that our leadership team is being proactive when it comes to safety by focusing heavily on the safety portion of prejob planning and taking ownership of the safety on their jobsites rather than looking at safety as a separate function.

How has KEMI assisted in enhancing workplace safety and reducing claims?
KEMI has been an exceptional partner for workplace health and safety training. During the past two years, KEMI provided several training courses for IFM employees that included Powered Industrial Truck Operator, Aerial Work Platform Operator, and First Aid/CPR/AED/BBP trainings, to name a few. IFM also frequently utilizes the safety resources available for free through KEMI’s website at and is a subscriber to the KEMI electronic newsletter. These resources and training courses have allowed IFM to continue to drive a culture of “safety first” in our organization.

What notable safety milestones or recognition has your organization achieved during the past several years?
IFM views each day without an injury as a milestone to be proud of, but some additional milestones worth noting are:

  • Proud recipients of the KEMI Destiny Award for three consecutive years.
  • Currently at more than 600,000 man hours without a recordable injury.
  • Year-over-year improvement in Experience Modification Rating.
  • NCCER Accredited Assessment Center (AAC) Accreditation.
  • HSI Certified for CPR/AED/First Aid Instruction.
  • Leadership Training – two (OSHA 500), one (OSHA 510).

IFM fully embraces KEMI’s motto, “Control your own destiny.” We try to exemplify this through total organizational commitment to safety, our obligation to our workforce, and our partnership with KEMI and our clients.

HJI Supply Chain Solutions reduces recordable incidents

HJI Supply Chain Solutions, located in Louisville, Kentucky, has provided logistics services to leading corporations for nearly three decades. Cofounded by Alice and Wade Houston, HJI employs 375 people in an industry that can involve high-risk work situations, which is why HJI keeps workplace safety at the forefront of daily operations.

According to VP, People Operations Rahima Avdic, safety is an ongoing process, and it requires commitment at all levels of the organization. Mr. Avdic explains why, “We regularly assess our safety program’s effectiveness and make adjustments as necessary to continuously improve our warehouse’s safety record.”

What role does safety play in your organization’s culture?

At HJI Supply Chain Solutions, our core commitment is prioritizing safety above all else. We firmly believe that ensuring the safety and well-being of all stakeholders, including employees, customers, and partners, is the foundation upon which our success as a company is built.

Our unwavering dedication to safety serves as the cornerstone of our culture and operations, thereby fostering an environment in which everyone can thrive and feel secure. By putting people first, we not only protect lives but also safeguard the future of our organization to ensure we can continue delivering exceptional products and services to our valued customers while upholding the highest standards of integrity and responsibility.

What are some of the workplace safety concerns unique to your industry?

Warehouse operations often involve the use of heavy machinery, forklifts, pallet jacks, etc. Safety risks arise from improper use, operator error, lack of training, and equipment maintenance issues.

Warehouses frequently have high racks and tight aisles, so it is critical that we have proper guardrails, fall protection systems, and employee training in place.

Employees may be required to stack and pack items, which can lead to injuries from improper lifting techniques, repetitive motion, and awkward postures. Training in ergonomic practices can help mitigate these risks.

Forklift accidents are always a concern. This includes collisions with pedestrians and other vehicles and damage to inventory. Strict training and safety protocols for forklift operators are crucial.

Warehouses can have slippery floors due to spills, debris, or condensation. We make every effort to mitigate slips, trips, and falls with adequate housekeeping, nonslip flooring, and employee training to reduce the occurrence of these hazards.

Lifting and carrying heavy items manually can lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Proper training and the use of equipment, like dollies and hand trucks, can help reduce risk.

What practices have you added to your program that have helped improve your safety record?

Improving safety at HJI is paramount for the well-being of employees and the overall efficiency of operations. Most of the following practices and strategies have already been added to our facilities to enhance our safety program and record, while several are under consideration:

  • Comprehensive and ongoing safety training for all employees, including new hires and temporary workers.
  • Safety leadership for fostering a culture of safety by appointing assistant general managers to safety managers who can champion safety initiatives and serve as role models for others.
  • Safety meetings that include representatives from different departments to discuss and address safety concerns regularly.
  • Regular equipment maintenance checklist to reduce the risk of accidents caused by equipment failure.
  • Proper guidelines and procedures for the safe handling, stacking, and storage of materials to prevent falls, collapses, and injuries.
  • Clear traffic lanes and pedestrian walkways for traffic management and enforceable rules for the safe movement of equipment and pedestrians within all warehouses.
  • Housekeeping to maintain a clean and organized warehouse environment to reduce tripping hazards and the risk of fires or accidents caused by clutter.
  • Routine safety inspections and audits to identify potential issues and ensure compliance with safety protocols.
  • Incident reporting and investigation system for reporting and thoroughly investigating accidents or near-miss incidents to identify root causes and prevent future occurrences.

What impacts or benefits have you seen resulting from a strong safety program?

Some of the key impacts and benefits we have accomplished for both employees and the organization as a whole are:

  • Reduced workplace accidents and injuries.
  • Increased employee morale.
  • Lower workers’ compensation costs.
  • Increased efficiency.
  • Reduced downtime.
  • Cost savings.
  • Improved employee engagement.
  • Environmental benefits.
  • Customer trust.

How has KEMI assisted in enhancing workplace safety and reducing claims?

KEMI has been fully engaged with us and has provided excellent communication, data analysis, guidance, and training.

What notable safety milestones or recognition has your organization achieved during the past several years?

Our achievements include safety culture excellence, reduced recordable incidents/accidents, safety benchmarking, and continuous improvement, which are all symbolized by earning our first KEMI Destiny Award in 2023.

Graf Brothers Flooring simplifies safety strategy

Graf Brothers Flooring is the world’s largest manufacturer of rift and quarter sawn white oak products. Headquartered on an 80-acre site in South Shore, Kentucky, this location is one of the most comprehensive hardwood production facilities in the world.

The operation includes a log yard of over 12 acres, two sawmills, state-of-the-art band milling equipment, 18 kilns, two cutting-edge computer-driven rip lines, various warehouses, and comprehensive industry-leading equipment to produce solid and engineered flooring.

Graf Brothers is proud to be at the forefront of innovation in both lumber and flooring production. Human Resources/Safety Coordinator Brittany Mader describes workplace safety concerns unique to this industry and addresses how universal attention to safety has led to Graf Brothers Flooring earning the KEMI Destiny Award for seven consecutive years.

What role does safety play in your organization’s culture?

The seriousness of workplace safety can be overwhelming to the average worker, but Graf Brothers Flooring simplifies safety strategy by using a top-down approach to help set the tone and path for safety policies. From leadership to management to employee, our consistent commitment to safety is not only written in policy, but it is a visual example that is present in all areas of the business, every single day for 304 employees.

Sawmill equipment can be hazardous, particularly improper use of machines or guards. Lifting and pulling can also be risky. That’s why communication, training, leadership, reporting hazards, and employee involvement are essential components of the culture of Graf Brothers Flooring.

What practices have you added to your program that helped improve your safety record?

One of the major things that has improved day-to-day safety is the implementation of new technology application systems that involve scanning items from a distance rather than being close to objects. This avoids direct contact with objects that could ultimately cause an accident or injury. We have also added several automated external defibrillators (AEDs) during the past few years and utilized KEMI’s safety team to conduct training for these devices for all operations teams, crew leaders, and office personnel.

What impacts or benefits have you seen resulting from a strong safety program?

Scheduled training involving every department has been greatly beneficial to our overall safety program. Employees who feel safe at work are more likely to be productive because they know that their well-being is important. With this, safe employees are less likely to become injured on the job.

How has KEMI assisted in enhancing workplace safety and reducing claims?

We can’t say enough about Kim Justice and Zach Boggs. Their wealth of knowledge is a huge asset. When it comes to our policy and claims, Kim stays on top of our claims and knows when to step in before we even ask for assistance. Her dedication and years of knowledge allow her the ability to provide support and expert guidance in any situation we face. Regarding our safety policy and training, Zach is an extension of our team. He provides on-site safety training, walkthroughs, advice, and resources. They both have assisted with policy renewal, inspections, education, and upgrades.

What notable safety milestones or recognition has your organization achieved during the past several years?

Our six KEMI Destiny awards are proudly displayed at the entrance of our office, and we are thrilled to add our seventh! Another safety milestone is having our owners, office staff, and crew leaders all trained in CPR & AED, which further illustrates our commitment to safety for our employees and their families.

Big Rivers Electric earns eighth consecutive Destiny Award by putting safety first

Big Rivers Electric Corporation, a cooperative for power generation, transmission, and distribution, provides wholesale electric power and services to three distribution cooperative members across 22 counties in western Kentucky.

Headquartered in Owensboro, Kentucky, with stations in Robards and Centertown, Kentucky, and a substation in Henderson, Kentucky, Big Rivers is responsible for keeping 273 employees safe in an industry where contact with high electrical voltage is an everyday possibility.

Corporate Safety Manager Aaron Barkley outlines safety measures that have been implemented throughout all levels of the organization to bolster their ongoing safety program. A comprehensive commitment to workplace safety has earned Big Rivers Electric the distinction of receiving the KEMI Destiny Award for the eighth consecutive year.

What role does safety play in your organization’s culture?

Big Rivers maintains a proactive approach to safety by putting people first. Our employees and contractors are our greatest assets, and we treat them as such. We have personal safety awards for all employees based on completion of training, attendance of safety meetings, and displaying safety leadership.

We also have department, plant, and company awards when we reach safety milestones. These awards help unify our employees with a focus on safety, which fosters relationships and ensures employees are getting to know each other on a more personal level. This intentional and personal touch toward safety breeds a culture of caring for one other’s safety, which leads to an interdependent safety culture.

What are some of the workplace safety challenges Big Rivers employees encounter?

High electrical voltage poses a danger that many other businesses and organizations don’t face. Heavy mobile equipment from the public is also unique to our operation. Many industries are contained within their “plant” or worksite, however, a number of our employees interact with the public regularly while working with power lines and distribution lines.

Lockout tagout for deenergizing and securing equipment is not a concept confined to our industry, however, the way it must be performed under the power generation standard is unique. This is a focus area that requires multiple training courses each year and is pivotal to our success.

What practices have you added to your program that helped improve your safety record?

We are especially focused on new hire training and qualifications. We also have a “good catch” program that encourages anyone to find something, fix something, or report something so it can be appropriately addressed. This proactive program helps improve our safety records by removing hazards from the workplace. Additionally, we have safety committees that meet monthly to review any issues identified and to discuss fixes for those issues.

During the past year, we began implementing a comprehensive safety management system that will continue to take our safety program to the next level. We have taken steps to make advancements in our communication to enhance learning from one location to all other locations. From the top of our organization, safety meetings are held monthly to discuss ways we can improve, and that concept trickles throughout the organization.

Our CEO and COO are actively engaged with everyone at all levels. This is evident from the quarterly all-hands meetings conducted at each facility, the monthly safety meetings, and the monthly safety and business updates. Engagement, learning, and advancement are foremost in our organization, and this sets us apart from other industries. In addition, we offer shared services to other organization co-ops, which aids in communication, learning, and further advancements in safety.

What impacts or benefits have you seen resulting from a strong safety program?

We have experienced more buy-in and ownership from our employees. Any problems can be resolved faster because we have the processes set up within our safety program to generate the necessary feedback to move forward. As a lagging indicator, our injuries decrease. This is a primary goal and our No. 1 core value at Big Rivers.

How has KEMI assisted in enhancing workplace safety and reducing claims?

KEMI keeps us informed when situations are reported to them. When we have not been made aware of these situations, timely notification from KEMI has allowed us to review and consider potential solutions to appropriately address the circumstances surrounding these situations.

What notable safety milestones or recognition has your organization achieved during the past several years?

Wilson Station in Centertown received a Governor Safety Award in 2021 and 2022. Our headquarters in Owensboro also received a Governor Safety Award in 2021 and 2023, and our Energy Transmission & Substation in Henderson received a Governor Safety Award in 2021.

Everyone at Big Rivers Electric Corporation is proud to add our eighth KEMI Destiny Award to our collection this year and to be recognized for our team effort that supports workplace safety.

EKU substantially reduces annual premium with workplace safety program

Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) earned the KEMI Destiny Award for workplace safety for the fifth consecutive year. EKU accomplished this outstanding achievement through methodically implementing and managing a robust safety program that permeates all facets of the university.

EKU, a regional, coeducational public institution of higher education with the main campus located in Richmond, Kentucky, employs approximately 4,100 people. Associate Vice President for Facilities Management & Safety Bryan Makinen explains how collaboration among multiple areas of responsibility helps create a campus culture of safety for faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

What role does safety play at Eastern Kentucky University?

Safety is the central theme that informs all decisions made at the university, from operations, to new builds, to renovations. We embrace a holistic approach of workplace safety in all we do.

Eastern Kentucky University has a Division of Facilities Management & Safety that consists of the EKU Police Department, 911 Telecommunications Center, Emergency Management, Fire & Life Safety, Environmental Health & Safety, Parking & Transportation Services, Risk Management & Insurance, Facilities Management, and Capitol Construction. This division also includes oversight of the Aramark Custodial Services and Grounds Maintenance program.

Combining these areas provides an environment wherein synergisms occur to focus on worker and public safety. Our goal is to create a campus culture and foster a campus atmosphere that provides all individuals the safety they deserve. We do this with methodical planning, training, implementation, monitoring, reporting, and enforcement before incidents occur – not in reaction to them.

What are some of the workplace safety concerns unique to a university campus?

Slips, trips, and falls are universal concerns, and they are high on the list at a college campus. Our broad-spectrum risks, such as facilities operation, farm operation, chemical laboratories, aviation program, and police operation, present safety situations that other types of organizations and businesses may not experience.

Training a variety of professionals relative to safety, including facilities management, faculty, staff, student workers, and more, requires our trainers to stretch their training and instruction abilities to cater to a multitude of experiences, backgrounds, physical abilities, trade-specific tasks, and educational levels.

What impacts or benefits have resulted from a strong safety program?

The years dedicated to workplace safety have paid off by significantly lowering our workers’ compensation mod factor, and we are holding steady. The financial impact of this is astounding. We have reduced our annual workers’ compensation premium by 80%! Additionally, our OSHA recordable injuries have been substantially lowered.

We appreciate KEMI’s assistance with accident and incident trending reports. This crucial information gives us the ability to channel efforts so we can focus resources on areas of concern. The quarterly in-person claims review process has also been invaluable in helping us control costs and effectively manage difficult or complex claims.

Experiencing the partnership between the teams from KEMI, our insurance agency, and EKU is amazing.

Receiving our fifth KEMI Destiny Award is a testament to our focused efforts for improving the culture of safety.