One Hundred Oaks EVS staff at 500 injury-free days and countingAug. 26, 2021, 9:12 AM
by Paul Govern
At Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks, among the 40 full-time Aramark Corp. employees who work under contract to provide environmental services — EVS, an industry term for health care cleaning services — there has not been an injury requiring medical attention in more than 500 days.
“In an EVS staff of this size, we might see in the neighborhood of six to 12 injuries per year that require some sort of medical attention, typically various types of strains, primarily in the back and shoulders, from lifting and moving things,” said Robert Frazier, general manager for Aramark at VUMC.
Asked what accounts for this streak of injury-free days, Frazier spoke about the safety practices promoted by Aramark, and about the quality of his EVS staff.
“We have a very engaged staff, a team that takes pride in their work,” he said.
Some 126 full-time Aramark employees provide EVS in outpatient areas across VUMC. (Aramark also supervises the VUMC-employed EVS workers who clean inpatient areas.)
Each week, across Aramark’s U.S. accounts, the company promotes conversations on a given safety topic. At the beginning of every EVS shift at VUMC, there’s a huddle where managers connect with the staff, and it’s there that safety topics are broached, Frazier said.
“Safety is everyone’s responsibility,” he said. “If I were to be seen out in the clinics without non-slip shoes, my staff would call me on it, and they’d be right to do so.
“I attribute this streak to our corporate safety culture at Aramark, and to the fact that the staff at OHO is engaged and high-performing to begin with.”
The onset of COVID-19 at VUMC clearly instilled a new wariness among this staff of essential workers, Frazier said.
“Fear of the unknown is what we we’ve had to fight and battle through,” he said. “Partnering with VUMC Infection Prevention, I think we did a really good job giving our staff fact-based information and re-educating them on our protocols for infection prevention for ourselves and for our patients and visitors.”