Baptist Retirement Community Stays SHARP with Texas Consultation
Company: Baptist Retirement Community
Location: San Angelo, Texas
Since 1951, Baptist Retirement Community has provided vibrant living and compassionate care to senior adults in the Concho Valley in west Texas. Its campus, a 100-acre senior living community in San Angelo, Texas, offers independent living, memory care, assisted living, skilled/long-term nursing care, personal assistance services, and outpatient therapy. Baptist Retirement Community is home to more than 500 older adults.
Baptist Retirement Community has a long history of working with the Texas Occupational Safety and Health Consultation Program (Texas Consultation) as it has held the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) designation for over 13 years at all three of its locations. This partnership over the years has resulted in guidance and enhancements to the organization’s overall safety program. The most recent example was when COVID-19 threatened the safety and health of its employees and residents.
The healthcare industry was hard hit during the pandemic. The communal nature of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, combined with their generally older population often with underlying medical conditions, put these adults at increased risk of COVID-19 infection and severe illness.
The uncertainty of the virus coupled with the realease of OSHA’s Healthcare emergency temporary standard led the Baptist Retirement Community Director of Human Resources to work with Texas Consultation on how to proceed.
Based on guidance from Texas Consultation, Baptist Retirement Community implemented the following steps:
- Management set up an emergency plan with testing and quarantining procedures.
- Before entering the buildings, employees were required to wash their hands and wear face masks as part of their personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Everyone completed a health declaration and had their temperatures taken before entry.
- Hand sanitizing stations were installed.
- Employees were asked not to leave the campus during their shifts. Management provided meals, snacks, and beverages to the staff at no cost.
- A system of print, phone, text, and email communications was developed to ensure information about positive cases, health education, investigations, and new community policies was relayed promptly.
- Staff received pay while in quarantine. The company also provided grocery delivery e-gift cards to quarantining employees to help reduce exposure to others.
- Management held vaccine clinics for their staff and residents, and continue to hold booster clinics regularly.
To assist Baptist Retirement Community in its efforts, Texas Consultation provided new and refresher training and education to the staff on PPE use, handwashing, and the proper fitting of N95 masks. When the nursing facility had trouble locating supplies for respirator fit testing, the Texas Consultation consultant located testing equipment for them. Texas Consultation also advised the company on how to report work-related hospitalizations to OSHA and maintain the required injury and illness 300 log. This assistance helped quickly idenfity any exposures and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the facility.
The OSHA On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services to small and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards and how to fix them, provide advice for compliance with OSHA standards, train and educate workers, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health programs. On-Site Consultation services are separate from OSHA enforcement efforts and do not result in penalties or citations. To locate the OSHA On-Site Consultation program nearest you, call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or visit www.osha.gov/consultation.