Recognizing LHSC's health and safety champions

June 20, 2018

Each May, LHSC celebrates Safety and Health Week, which provides us with an opportunity to recognize individuals or groups who, over the past year, have demonstrated a deep commitment to staff health and safety within our organization.

The Scott Dumaresq Memorial Award for employees was established at Victoria Hospital prior to the formation of LHSC, in honour of one of our power plant engineers. Dumaresq, who was known for his active focus on safety at the power plant, tragically lost his life on the way to work when his commute intersected with a police car chase at the corner of Wellington and Commissioners.

The Gayle Talaskavich Memorial Award for leadership was established in 2007 to honour a manager of Occupational Health and Safety Services who passed away suddenly at home in 2005. She was deeply involved with safety initiatives at LHSC.

Both Dumaresq and Talaskavich were committed to workplace safety. This year’s nominees and award winners have “walked the talk” by demonstrating a deep commitment to staff health and safety within our organization; championing an initiative, affecting their work area or department in a positive manner, or by contributing time and effort beyond their regular duties.

Congratulations to all of the 2018 winners and nominees.

Scott Dumaresq Memorial Award Recipient: PaLM Safety Committee, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, UH/VH

The Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (PaLM) Safety Committee is a dedicated  team made up of 40 volunteer staff members representing all laboratories within London Health Sciences Centre  and  St. Joseph’s Health Care London. The safety team is an incredibly dedicated and productive group. Their efforts create a safety culture that far exceeds anything that could be created through assigned duties and mandated tasks as they oversee routine peer-to-peer audits, trend reviews, PDCA improvement cycles, and department wide communication to 500 staff. Despite working daily with hazardous chemicals in a containment level 2 biohazard laboratory staff safety incidents are extremely rare. The health of our staff is a direct result of this high performing team. Additionally, the team conducts an annual review and revision of PaLM’s laboratory safety manual and has been instrumental in identifying and implementing corrective actions for potential safety issues, such as training for the use of eyewash stations, code brown training and proper chemical waste disposal.

Scott Dumaresq Memorial Award nominees:

  • Tania Burr
  • Mental Health Observational Care – Simulation education for PSWs - (Ashley Hogan, Karen Goldrich, Lori Hunt, Tammy Kelly, Michelle Roy, and Sandra Valdes)

Gayle Talaskavich Memorial Award Recipient: Julie Sans, Coordinator, Cancer Care

Julie is currently a Coordinator in Cancer Care at LHSC, and has also served as the lead of the London Regional Cancer Program Safety Team for many years. In this latter role, Julie has had a significant impact on the health and safety of staff and physicians working in the program. One of her most significant contributions has been her efforts to develop a staff tool to assist in dealing with upset patients and family members that pose a violence risk. While this work remains ongoing and involves the contributions of many, including program-wide survey input, it has been recognized that the tool will fill an important identified gap for staff that will help to ensure there is a consistent approach to reducing potential staff safety risks. Through the work of the safety team, Julie also regularly leads workplace inspections, hand hygiene audits, AEMS reviews and attends scheduled walkabouts to identify and correct any local area safety hazards. Additionally, she helps to ensure the safety and health of staff by assisting with ergonomic changes, such as the installation of hands-free headsets and chair adjustments, as well as follows up on any safety related equipment maintenance/service requests.

Gayle Talaskavich Award nominees:

  • Dr. Vico Dagnone
  • Brian Brennan
  • Julia Marchesan

Special Recognition Award: Craig Watkin, Director, Emergency Care, Regional Base Hospital & External Partnerships

Craig is currently the Director of the Emergency Department, Base Hospital and External Partnerships at LHSC. In this role, he has championed and overseen collaborative initiatives between the ED and the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) and has ensured that these have been pushed over the finishing lines and that they are continuously evaluated for effectiveness. He has driven an ED safety campaign which is laser focused on enhancing staff and patient safety in the workplace. This campaign has involved, implementing leadership safety rounding and front line safety huddles, creating contraband posters that heighten the awareness of inappropriate items to bring into the ED, implementing a locker system to allow patients to safely place their belongings in a secured spot while receiving treatment, prioritizing the investigation of staff safety incidents and ensuring that learnings are implemented into regular nursing practice. Craig also maintains a strong presence at the JHSC to ensure that any concerns that impact safety in the ED are communicated to the leadership team so that they can be addressed in a timely manner and corrective actions taken as soon as possible. Staff and patient safety is a high priority for Craig and he ensures that safety is embedded in any change in Emergency Care practice.

Special Recognition Award nominee:

  • Susan Rosato

For photos of this year’s winners, nominees, and more, please visit our Facebook album.


Health and Safety Week Booth