Effective and Efficient Safety Heroism

This quarter’s Safety Hero is Cathy Kiser of Eastern Rio Blanco Metro Park and Recreation District (ERBM). She serves as the district’s HR Administrator and Risk Manager. She has been in this role for the last eight years, spending approximately a third of her time coordinating various safety and risk management related items.

Eastern Rio Blanco Metro Park and Recreation district has 99 acres of park area and 33,500 square feet of 21 occupied buildings.

These include storage sheds, pumphouses, covered seating, and various pieces of of equipment. They have 23 full time and 30 part time employees and a total operating expense of $3,665,000.

In this position, Cathy is responsible for the effective and efficient operation of the district’s Human Resources Department.

She plays a key role within the district’s organization by strategically planning, implementing, and managing employee relations and human resources procedures and practices.

Cathy directly manages, develops, and implements ERBM’s risk management program in addition to wellness campaigns for the district. These campaigns are designed to promote healthy lifestyles and participation in fitness and wellness programs.

“Cathy has a ‘can-do’ attitude. She is willing to take on new initiatives in a variety of areas to make our agency better,” says Sean VanRoenn, ERBM’s Executive Director.

Cathy doesn’t shy away from innovation if it means making her workplace more safe or secure.

“Her position responsibilities related to safety have significantly expanded over the last several years and she keeps taking on these challenges and producing solid outcomes,” VonRoenn said.

One of those challenges is the implementation of an annual audit. Each year, Cathy manages this review of all compliance and safety-related practices. This includes facility and equipment inspections, required and recommended trainings, motor vehicle program, playgrounds, boilers, chemical safety, ergonomic assessments, and more.

One of Cathy’s other major roles is the management of the district’s safety and wellness committee. This district-wide committee meets quarterly and includes representatives from each department in the district. They meet to review specific safety and security plans, plan annual trainings, review incident/accident reports, oversee loss control audit compliance, plan wellness challenges, recognition and incentive programs, near miss program, and much more.

This year, trainings on back injuries, workplace harassment, and violence have been organized by Cathy. ERBM also collaborates regularly with other organizations in the community to help conduct drills. Recently, Meeker Police Department, Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office, and Meeker Fire District have helped to conduct trainings and review of safety and security plan documents.

In 2019, all-staff tabletop exercises on drowning, including a full EMT response simulation, were conducted for the district.

Other notable duties Cathy regularly performs are spearheading efforts to establish comprehensive response plans, conducting regular trainings, and overseeing extensive loss control practices. Her attention and commitment has made ERBM into the safety powerhouse it is today.

“Our work comp claims history prior to these initiatives was not nearly where we felt like it could be,” VanRoenn said.