WRNMMC, Bethesda, MD –
The chief of Occupational Safety at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center has urged staff to make work safety a priority in their daily schedules.
Emmanuel Nyinaku spoke to the Office of Command Communications about maintaining a safe workspace as the hospital continues to battle with COVID-19.
“Our role is to ensure the safety of staff while they are doing their jobs because that helps the hospital meet its objectives of delivering quality service to patients,” said Emmanuel Nyinaku, Occupational Safety chief. “When staff members are safe, they will in turn be able to ensure the safety of their patients as well as their environment,” he added
Nyinaku said maintaining occupational safety is always a challenge because staff members need to be reminded of their roles in promoting a safe workspace.
“People don’t usually think of safety when they come to work. They often focus on what they are paid to do, their jobs, which is understandable. But what we want them to know is that promoting a safe work environment should be a joint responsibility. Whoever observes an unsafe environment has the knowledge and power to stop it by either acting directly or reporting the issue to us for action,” he said.
Nyinaku explained WRNMMC’s approach to safety is to be proactive by addressing occupational safety concerns before they emerge rather than waiting for them to become hurdles to tackle.
He said occupational safety representatives allow staff to see firsthand the significance of workplace safety by facilitating training, sharing reports, and sharing instructions to achieve a safe workspace. “A safety steering committee comprised of hazard management, occupational safety, occupational health and other functions will be formed soon to help come up with a comprehensive plan so that all safety issues can be highlighted for proper collaboration,” he added.
Nyinaku pointed to the recent Summer Safety Day at WRNMMC, which brought out a number of federal, state, base, hospital, and volunteer organizations to encourage people to focus on common summer safety concerns. Since summer typically involves an increase in travel and participation in outdoor activities, the risk of safety mishaps can increase as well.
“When you leave your house every day to come to work, think of three things --- the family which you are working to support; the clients you work with daily; and yourself, the person who needs to be safe and in good spirit to perform your tasks,” Nyinaku added. “Focusing on these things should compel you to stay sober on and off the road and be responsible in whatever you do this summer. No need to rush everything because there will be another summer next year. That’s the message I want my colleagues to take home as a safety tip,” Nyinaku said.