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Sun, Dec 28, 2014

HUDGINS: Manufacturers awarded for safety records

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Two Tennessee-based manufacturing plants with The Kroger Co., including Heritage Farms Dairy in Murfreesboro, collectively have gone more than 1,200 consecutive operating days without a significant injury to an employee.

This accomplishment has earned these plants the grocery giant’s prestigious safety distinction, the Iceberg Award.

These plants have a safety record that together includes more than three years of accident-free days, but what’s more important, according to Kroger, are safe employees looking out for one another and striving for an accident-free workplace.

“What we’ve learned over the years is that safety practices and procedures can’t just be preached or mandated; they need to be embraced by engaged and caring associates,” said Bill Crabtree, general manager at Heritage Farms Dairy. “We look around and see a team of associates who genuinely care about the well being of their co-workers.”

Together, the two facilities have operated for more than 1,200 days (and still counting) without an Occupational Safety and Health Administration recordable incident, which in layman’s terms means employees have not had a workplace accident that required serious medical care.

Delight Products, a dry pet food manufacturing plant located in Springfield, employs around 80 full-time associates and is currently celebrating more than 800 accident-free days.

Heritage Farms is predominantly a dairy-product manufacturing facility that employs nearly 165 people and just reached more than 400 days without an OSHA recordable incident.

For some perspective, food manufacturing as an industry averages 5.8 recordable cases per 100 full-time workers, according to OSHA 2010 data, and the 2011 rate for Delight Products and Heritage Farms was zero.

Both plants attribute these accident-free milestones to the associates “living the vision” for an accident-free workplace, Crabtree said.

From daily team meetings to safety newsletters and regular celebrations to mark progress, safety practices, procedures and behaviors are a part of the work day, every day.

The focus on safe practices extends beyond the plant walls: The manufacturing centers equip associates with safety tips for when they’re at home, working in the yard, driving, and taking care of everyday chores.

 “A safe work life makes for a better life all around,” said Susan Farmer, general manager of Delight Products. “We try and make it fun and engaging for our associates, so they never lose sight of safety and remain committed to keeping one another safe.”

Kroger created the Iceberg Award in 2003 as a way to encourage associates at its facilities to work toward a goal of having 365 accident-free days. Over the years, 56 percent of Kroger’s 32 manufacturing facilities have earned an Iceberg Award. Twenty-six percent have received the award more than once – including Heritage Farms and Delight Products.

The “Iceberg” name refers to the fact that injuries at the workplace are the “tip of the iceberg” that are seen and counted, but it’s the proactive behaviors and procedures with safety in mind that will prevent incidents and injuries in the first place.

“This is more than just another award to our team,” Farmer said. “It’s proof that we can work together to accomplish a goal that benefits everyone. The team takes this commitment seriously. They really are each other’s brother’s keeper.”

MTMC opens epilepsy unit

Middle Tennessee Medical Center has opened a new Epilepsy Monitoring Unit designed to help physicians better pinpoint the type of seizure that is occurring, how often they are occurring or precisely locate the source.

Through non-invasive video electroencephalography monitoring, combining both video surveillance and simultaneous evaluation of brain activity, neurologists are given a more accurate report than EEG or video alone can provide.

“Knowing what happens during a seizure is invaluable information in the process of diagnosing epilepsy and seizures,” said Dr. Jessica Thomas, a board-certified neurologist with Tennessee Neurology Specialists-Murfreesboro, who specializes in epilepsy and is the medical director of the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.

“This is the first unit of its kind at MTMC and in Rutherford County and having this advanced technology will allow us to ultimately provide better care for our patients,” she said.

Video EEG equipment has been installed in four rooms on the seventh floor of MTMC for both inpatient and outpatient treatment.

Three additional portable units are available for use throughout the hospital for adult and pediatric patients, and the new equipment can also be used to perform EEGs with video surveillance.

 “Epilepsy or seizures can be confusing and scary for children and parents.” said Dr. Javier Valero, a board-certified pediatric neurologist and epileptologist at Murfreesboro Medical Clinic and SurgiCenter and member of the medical staff at MTMC.

“The use of the portable video EEG equipment is a way to effectively diagnose and treat pediatric patients, just as in adult patients, while minimizing impact to patient and family,” he said.

Because the purpose of the video EEG is to record seizure activity, patients will often undergo a reduction in anti-seizure medications to provoke a seizure. Patients are closely supervised by physicians, nurses and EEG technicians during the process and are treated promptly. For patients that have been taking anti-seizure medications for a long time, the unit may be the safest place for them to be weaned off of their medications.   

To make an appointment with Thomas, call 615-396-6800, or with Valero, call 615-867-8090.
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Agriculture, Business, Health, Health Care, Heritage Farms Dairy, Kroger, Manufacturing, MTMC, Murfreesboro, OSHA
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