Opened in 1936, Keeneland is the world’s largest and most prominent Thoroughbred auction house, conducting five horse sales annually. Situated in the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region in Lexington, Keeneland also hosts world-class racing twice annually during its boutique spring and fall meetings. Owners, trainers, riders, and fans from all over the world travel to Keeneland each year for an experience like none other.
Assistant Director of Human Resources Tiffany McDonald describes how developing a safety program to address circumstances unique to the horse industry helps achieve workplace safety goals for 286 full- and part-time employees plus 1,754 seasonal workers.
What role does safety play in Keeneland’s culture?
In fulfillment of Keeneland’s founding mission, the safety and welfare of horse and rider remain priority No. 1. Keeneland continues to support and invest in programs and initiatives that protect our equine and human athletes. All Keeneland employees take responsibility for doing their part to create the safest environment possible for the horse and for one another.
Employees work with multiple tools and equipment, and protecting team members from injury is of utmost importance. From patrolling the grounds 24/7, responding to calls for service, continuing to invest significantly in state-of-the-art technology and expertise to provide safe and consistent racing surfaces, and so much more, Keeneland ensures that we have a safe campus year-round!
What practices have you added to your program that helped improve your safety record?
We look at everything in an action/reaction frame of mind. We always consider what implications the task or event would have on individuals or patrons. We have implemented enhanced medical response protocols that provide on-site Level I trauma care, as well as proactive patrol and assignments on race days, during morning training hours for racehorses, and after hours.
Departmental meetings are held frequently throughout the year, and documentation of incidents is shared with applicable parties. After-action briefings and refresher trainings are conducted to address safety-related incidents and to better prepare employees to prevent future incidents.
What impacts or benefits have you seen resulting from a strong safety program?
Multiple departments have made communication a high priority. This enables departments to operate more efficiently and support one another in their respective tasks during stressful situations. Due to that, we have seen an injury record close to zero.
How has KEMI assisted in enhancing workplace safety and reducing claims?
Excellent communication and training platforms have helped Keeneland foster a workplace culture of safety for all staff members, and we look forward to continued development.
Keeneland is a special place to work with a unique schedule and set of demands. Earning the 2023 KEMI Destiny Award underscores how deeply our team is invested in our safety program so that Keeneland can provide the best experience possible for our horsemen and our guests.