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KSRE Tuesday Letter

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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

April 11, 2023

Workplace Safety Across KSRE and the College of Agriculture

Submitted by Martin Draper

We all have the privilege of working in a wonderful organization. When I first interviewed here at KSU I heard about "K-State Family" and I thought it was hyperbole, but I came to know that we really do care for our co-workers.

We have challenges, but we face them together in a caring manner.

Safety in the workplace is like that. We want to be careful ourselves, but we also want to be careful to protect our co-workers. Small accidents happen. We certainly don’t want big accidents.

We prevent accidents by training. Training helps us keep in the front of our minds, the behaviors that keep ourselves and others safe.

As a youth, high school and club soccer coach I used to ask my players, “Practice makes…,” and they would should out, “PERFECT.” I would correct them: “Practice makes permanent!” We practice and we train to assure that we will automatically know the right thing to do in common situations.

Safety is a skill. We need to practice and to train to make it permanent. I want to give a shout out to all those that are current and up-to-date on their safety training. Particularly of note? County agents are at 100% completed. Kudos to all of you.

In my role with KSRE, the safety office is included among my responsibilities. My time here is short. I want my successor to come into their new role and not have to be concerned with workplace safety. They will know that in the K-State College of Agriculture and KSRE, we have a culture of safety.

I am asking all employees to focus on getting their training modules up to date. Modules are assigned based on your job type. If you think you should not have a certain module in your assignment, please talk to your unit’s Environmental Health and Safety coordinator. In some units, that responsibility is shared by more than one person.

There are some modules that are new and have particular importance. For example, when we get behind the wheel of a vehicle, we know how to drive… then the phone pings with a text coming in and we are fully drawn into the text conversation. Distracted driving is a major source of traffic accidents today. Maybe that’s not you, but there are other examples of where we can also lose our focus. I’m sure both you and I said it before, “It’ll be fine just this once.” Then that becomes a common practice.

So get your modules completed. Reserve an hour a day to devote to these online training sessions. Most of them don’t take very long. I expect to have 100% completion rates by the end of the academic year (May 13). Nine-month employees should assume the same expectation for completion. Failure to complete training has consequences defined in the Policy and Procedures Manual, but let’s not go there. We all do our training and we stay current because we know it is important and it is our culture of safety.

You can check your progress with your unit EH&S Coordinator or by going online to https://www.k-state.edu/safety/training/ and clicking on “HSI/Vivid SSO Login (once registered)” in the right column. That will take you to a login screen that is linked to your dual factor authentication. You can then view your training assignments and your training history (transcript).

If you can’t see any training assigned, check with your unit safety coordinator. There could be a glitch or some other issue that is preventing you from seeing your record correctly. If you have any question about your status, your need to complete a certain unit, or if you need to train at all, check with your safety coordinator. If the coordinators need any clarification, they can check with the College/KSRE Occupational Health and Safety Director, Sandy Hoffman.

When you were hired, you should have been made aware of the commitment we have in the college and KSRE for safety. Dean Minton shares a Statement of Commitment on the KSRE website for all the world to see (https://www.ksre.k-state.edu/agsafe/commitment/Statement%20of%20Commitment_updated%202021_signed.pdf) and he adds that department heads, directors, unit leaders, lab managers and other supervisors are responsible for implementing this commitment within their areas of responsibility. That is true, but we all share in that personal responsibility, too. Let’s knock this training out! We have a culture of safety among our K-State Family.

Those of you that are current? Great job! Keep it up. You are setting an example for your co-workers and embodying the culture of safety and the culture of family we hope to espouse at K-State.

Thank you all for your cooperation!