MGH Kim Cooper

SHELTON, WA – Employees need to feel safe in the workplace, and nowhere is that more imperative than at a hospital or health care facility.

Mason Health was recently named as a 2021 Top Performer by Washington Hospital Services for the organization’s commitment to employee health and safety. Thanks to the hard work of Kim Cooper, RN, Mason Health’s Program Manager for Infection Prevention, Employee Health & Safety, Mason Health was one of five winners who completed the Top Performer challenge this year. The challenge involved completing a rigorous two-part safety assessment and audit.

The assessment and audit are meant to help identify possible gaps in employee safety and health programs and ensure that policies and procedures follow current and new state laws.

“This year’s challenge really focused on ensuring that our policies are aligned with new state laws, for example, those involving outdoor heat exposure,” Cooper said. “With the recent heat waves we have been experiencing, we need to make sure our employees have enough water, are taking their breaks and that we are able to identify which of our workers require protection. We asked ourselves, ‘Do we have the right policies and procedures in place?’”

The initial audit took place in April 19, 2021, and the deadline to complete any corrective action plans was Aug. 31, 2021. In the intervening months, Cooper worked with various departments to close any safety gaps that emerged during the audit. In addition to ensuring the District offers a program to protect employees working in extreme heat, Cooper worked to create procedures around accident reporting, ensured Mason Health could provide hearing protection, and worked with the Maintenance Department on training in place for working on live electrical panels.

This is the second year that Mason Health has earned the Top Performer award. In 2019, Cooper was instrumental in the organization winning the award, which that year focused on the work of the Employee Safety Committee. This winners of this year’s award receive a commemorative plaque, formal recognition at the annual Washington State Hospital Association meeting, and a $2,500 honorarium.

Cooper entered the health care field in 1999 as a neonatal intensive care unit nurse. She transitioned into the Infection Prevention program when she joined Mason Health.

“Employee Health and Safety is never boring,” said Cooper, who has worked in health care since 1999, first as neonatal intensive care unit nurse, before transitioning into Infection Prevention at Mason Health. “With the pandemic, employee health and safety has come even more to the forefront. Now, the most important thing employees can do is follow Personal Protective Equipment protocol – wear a mask, wash your hands and don’t come to work sick.”

Mason Health, Public Hospital District No. 1 of Mason County, is certified by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and is a licensed and accredited acute care hospital with a level four emergency trauma designation. There are more than 100 physicians on staff in 19 specialties. For more information or to find a health care provider, visit www.MasonGeneral.com.