Bertolette Selected as EHS Champion of Safety

By Siobhan Tierney, Contributing Writer, and Nancy Parrish, Staff Writer
EHS Champions of Safety posters

Posters featuring Champions of Safety: top, Dan Bertolette; bottom, Vicky Coalter. EHS launched the Champions of Safety Program to acknowledge employees who promote a culture of safety at NCI at Frederick.

Dan Bertolette has been selected as the most recent NCI at Frederick Champion of Safety, as part of the Champions of Safety Program sponsored by the Environment, Health, and Safety Program (EHS).

The goal of the program, which began last year, is to raise awareness and promote a culture of safety by showing NCI at Frederick staff at work in their respective workplaces, according to Terri Bray, director, EHS. “Since we have so many varied work environments here, safety often takes on a different look, according to workplace. We want to take the opportunity to show real people in real situations, to encourage safety everywhere,” Bray said.

Bertolette, a senior research assistant in the Tumor Growth Factor Section, Mouse Cancer Genetics Program, believes that a culture of safety is important for personal protection as well as the protection of coworkers. “We may be protecting ourselves adequately, but we also need to think about the people around us, or even those outside the lab. So we wear gloves at all times, and we wash our hands often, especially before leaving the lab,” he said.

Bertolette is the second EHS Champion of Safety, following Vicky Coalter, research associate III and supervisor, Specimen Support Core, AIDS and Cancer Virus Program. Coalter, who works in a lab on the front line of AIDS research, believes that “the most important thing we can bring to our lab is a clear mind because when we are thinking clearly, we follow the safety procedures. And when we follow the safety procedures, we’ll live to see another day.”

Posters featuring Bertolette and Coalter will be on display at the EHS Open House on May 19.

Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) is a basic procedure for avoiding employee accidents, Bray said. “EHS wants to continue to be diligent in promoting PPE as a basic tool of safety in the lab,” she continued. “By utilizing the correct PPE, employees are better prepared to address the hazards in the workplace.”

Bray advises managers and supervisors to incorporate risk assessment and safe operations into their leadership culture to ensure the maximum protection for their employees. “The goal of EHS is to help all NCI at Frederick employees be safe in the workplace. Safety knowledge and awareness must be a part of our work-life culture and influential in our daily decision making,” she said.                                                   

Do You Know a Champion of Safety?

If you know someone who holds to the highest standards of safety and sets an example for your workplace by promoting a culture of safety, you may want to nominate him or her as a Champion of Safety.                       

Send a brief statement (no more than 100 words) to ehs@mail.nih.gov explaining why you feel your colleague is a Champion of Safety. If selected, your colleague will be featured in a safety poster as well as in a newsletter article.

Contact EHS at 301-846-1451 or ehs@mail.nih.gov for more information on the Champions of Safety Program or for assistance with any other safety issues.

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