Setting the Tone for Safety

For this issue’s CSD Pool Safety Hero, we recognize Misty Behunin of Mt. Vernon Canyon Club, which is a part of Mt. Vernon Country Club Metropolitan District. Misty serves as the district’s administrative assistant, and although she has been in this role for a little over a year, her dedication, commitment, and mentality show that nothing stands in the way of safety.

It’s worth noting that Misty’s responsibilities go far beyond that of an administrative assistant. She also supports the district’s Membership Department, Private Events Department, and Communications Department by updating the website and sending weekly club updates to members.

In addition, she is involved with the employee recognition program that honors the 45-plus employees staffed at Mt. Vernon. We spoke with her district manager, John Stebbins, via email, who attested to Misty’s expansive workload.

“Misty is a dynamic person with a positive attitude and a get-it-done personality,” Stebbins wrote.

Before Misty joined the crew, the safety culture at Mt. Vernon struggled, a common thread we have heard at many different organizations. Mt. Vernon was falling victim to a large amount of workers’ compensation claims, and, as any manager can attest, keeping workers safe and incident and injury free is the top priority.

“Previously, there was no formal focus on safety,” Stebbins wrote. “But once Misty got involved, safety became part of the daily culture.”

For starters, Misty came onboard and moved full-steam ahead on organizing a safety committee. Since that committee has gotten off the ground, the district saw a complete turnaround in the safety culture within the entire organization.

Misty also took the lead role in staff engagement and retention, making sure all employees were involved with training. On a weekly basis, she spent roughly one-third of her time dedicated to safety implementation. Her communication and ingenuity—such as using the employee breakroom as a focal point for hanging posters and highlighting awareness campaigns—have proved instrumental to the program’s success. Without Misty, the program may not have reached the same heights.

“Every now and then she will ask my opinion,” Stebbins wrote, “but what she has created is all hers.”

Her responsibilities regarding the management of the safety committee include creating and selecting topics, running the monthly meetings, monitoring compliance, and making sure all employees complete at least one online learning course through the CSD Pool’s learning management system, TargetSolutions.

“Utilizing the Pool’s materials, Misty was able to have 100% of our employees complete one training module within 30 days,” Stebbins wrote. “Even with the technical challenges she faced, she was able to complete this almost impossible task.”

Topics vary, but Misty makes sure to cover the basics such as trips, slips, and falls, as well as more advanced, specialized topics such as the correct handling of tools, food safety procedures, and the correct ways to work out in the fitness center. COVID-19 has also provided an opportunity for the district to focus on safety with sanitation procedures. So far, the response from staff has been positive.

“It has been well accepted and we have had 100% compliance every month for reading and acknowledging out monthly safety topics,” Stebbins wrote.

In a role that continues to expand, Misty approaches safety and the growth of the organization’s safety culture in a way that is inclusive and engaging for everyone.

“Safety can be a boring topic to some people, but not for Misty,” Stebbins wrote. “She understands the importance and takes it very seriously.”