ISHM award presentation
Randy Morton, Chairman of the ISHM Board of Directors, presented Cory Worden (right) with ISHM’s award for 2014 Safety Management Professional of the Year.

Institute for Safety and Health Management (ISHM) in partnership with Westex, a flame resistant fabric manufacturer known for uncompromising commitment to safety, announce the 2014 Safety Management Professional of the Year.

Cory Worden, Manager of System Safety for Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in Texas and serving greater Houston with 12 hospitals, was recognized for building relationships and partnerships to promote Employee Safety.

“Cory was instrumental in fostering relationships to develop a system-wide employee safety committee with full staff participation,” said John Principe, Director of Environmental Health and Safety for West Virginia University and Vice Chairman of ISHM Board of Directors. “His efforts increased accident prevention and decreased injuries.”

Principe continues: “ISHM takes pride in offering certifications that focus on the management side of safety. Connecting with people and understanding their needs is a critical component to the overall success of a safety program. Cory represents Memorial Hermann and ISHM well, and he is well-deserving of this year’s Safety Management of the Year award.”

“In a system such as Memorial Hermann with 21,000+ (not including physicians) employees spanning 12 acute care hospitals and 100+ ambulatory care facilities, relationships and partnerships are integral to the development of a high-reliability employee safety culture,” said his principal nominator, Cathy Floyd of the Occupational Health Services department. The result has been a decrease in lagging indicators to a 4.64 TCIR as compared to a healthcare industry benchmark of 6.6.

Worden, who has 10 years of experience in EHS fields, has only been in the newly created position of Manager of System Safety for one year. He holds a Certified Safety and Health Manager (CSHM) certification from ISHM.

Asked what his biggest challenge was, Worden said the organization was facing a cultural shift to become predictive rather than reactive to safety concerns. “Building the program from the ground up allowed us to work with the leaders to establish how accidents affect retention, compliance and other factors, and to work with employees directly to identify hazards and put controls in place to prevent injuries.”

Worden established a system of Employee Safety Champions to create a network within this vast health system to provide executives and employees improved communication and shared knowledge on accident data and hazard controls. These committees now report to senior leaders and establish action items, implementation processes, and communications that is accessible on each campus. This was central to partnerships with departments in the system--Patient Safety, Clinical Education, Facilities Engineering, Human Resources, and Partners in Caring.

Outside of the system, Worden partnered with Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service to implement a Healthcare Workplace Safety Certificate Program. He has also engaged consultants and trainers to identify unsafe behaviors.  His talents in this field have been recognized by other major organizations, including ASSE, Association of Occupational Health Professionals, and College of the Mainland’s Gulf Coast Safety Institute, which have asked him to teach or speak.

Worden was recently recognized at the ISHM annual board meeting held in San Diego in conjunction with the National Safety Council (NSC) Congress & Expo, Sept. 13-19. In addition, Wextex hosted him as a special guest at their booth during the NSC Congress.

“Keeping employees safe is the ultimate goal and to be able to do that is gratifying in itself. I’m honored and humbled to be recognized for this work,” said Worden. “I’m proud to be a part of ISHM.”

About ISHM and the Safety Management Professional of the Year Award

Institute for Safety and Health Management provides accredited certifications for Safety and Health Managers and Practitioners. It is the only HSE certification provider that focuses on the entire safety management process. It recognizes safety professionals for the education and experience they have gained and is widely accepted by Occupational Health and Safety Departments in General Industry, Construction, Oil and Gas, Utilities, Healthcare and Emergency Management markets.

The Safety management Professional of the Year was first developed by ISHM in 2011 to recognize safety managers who have had a significant impact on their company’s safety practices, policies and procedures, or who have demonstrated leadership and inspired others to lead.

Nominees must be current ASHM, CSMP, or CSHM certified. A principal nominator and two endorsements are required. Nominations are reviewed by an independent panel of judges. Past winners have represented Border Security, Gaming, and Aerospace industries.

Nominations for the 2015 Safety Management Professional of the Year will be accepted beginning July 1, 2015. Download the form and email your nomination to