Published on March 17, 2011

Baptist Memorial Health Care Appoints First Director of Safety and Occupational Hygiene

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Mitchell Payes recently was named director of safety and occupational hygiene, a newly created position for Baptist Memorial Health Care.

He will collaborate with different departments to reduce risk of workplace injury; review and investigate safety-related incidents; develop and implement a safe patient handling and ergonomics program; and work with staff on modeling safe behaviors in the work environment.

The top priority for Payes will be to facilitate programming that will dramatically reduce ergonomic injuries (injuries that result from employees performing repetitive tasks and/or working in awkward positions.) Nationally, health care ergonomic injuries cost the industry more than 20 billion dollars a year causing 12 percent of registered nurses to leave the profession annually. One in six physical therapists leaves the profession or transfers to other duties due to ergonomic injuries. Fifty-two percent of nurses' experience and work with ergonomically- related pain.

"Mitchell is a real asset to the Baptist system," said Karen Farley, director of risk management for Baptist Memorial Health Care. "By working hands-on with staff to reduce work-related injuries and developing an overall strategic plan to educate staff and model safe behavior, Mitchell's work will result in tangible benefits to the organization."

Payes received a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Arizona and is a registered professional industrial hygienist. His previous work experience includes working as a chemist and chief of industrial hygiene at Magma Copper Company and superintendent of environmental health and safety at Teck Pogo, a global multi-metals company. Payes has served as an expert litigation witness and participated in the faculties for the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The Environmental Training Center, among others.

One of the largest not-for-profit health care systems in the United States, Baptist Memorial Health Care offers a full continuum of care to communities throughout the Mid-South. The Baptist system, which consistently ranks among the top integrated health care networks in the nation, comprises 14 affiliate hospitals in West Tennessee, North Mississippi and East Arkansas; more than 4,000 affiliated physicians; home, hospice and psychiatric care; minor medical centers and clinics; a network of surgery, rehabilitation and other outpatient centers; and an education system highlighted by the Baptist College of Health Sciences. Baptist has more than 2,600 licensed beds systemwide, employs more than 12,000 people and has approximately 85,000 admissions annually.

For more information about Baptist, please visit www.baptistonline.org or call 800-4-BAPTIST.

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