Finding Solutions to Safety Challenges in the Workplace
Safety Management Student Earns Award for Improving Safety at Military Medical Center
B.S. in Safety Management (BSSM) student Luis Artigas got his first taste of working in the safety field when he became a Safety Specialist in the U.S. Air Force in 2017. Though he had served in other positions in the Air Force, he found a unique interest in safety and quickly advanced to the role of Safety Manager.
Throughout his time serving in the USAF, Artigas has earned associate degrees in Aerospace Technology and Occupational Safety from the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF).
Increasing Safety in the Workplace
One of his particularly noteworthy achievements has been improving safety at the 99th Medical Group – Mike O’Callaghan Federal Medical Center in Las Vegas.
Workers at this hospital were experiencing an ongoing issue with injuring themselves when recapping used needles.
Utilizing the knowledge acquired through his experience and education, Artigas searched for the root of the problem. He discovered that the 10-minute-per-patient guideline that workers were expected to meet was causing mental strain, which was a significant factor in the frequency of injuries.
By recommending that workers have more time with each patient and that the hospital revise the protocol of recapping needles, the number of injuries decreased significantly.
Artigas later earned recognition by his military command and the Las Vegas Rotary Club for outstanding achievement in managing confined space systems and contributing to an almost 70% reduction in contaminated sharps injuries.
Applying Classroom Knowledge to Real-World Experiences
From Las Vegas, Artigas headed to an Air Force base in Los Angeles to work in Occupational and Weapons Safety. When he’s not on-duty, he works as a Warehouse Health and Safety Specialist at Amazon Logistics. Wherever he finds himself, his goal remains the same – to improve safety.
“That’s what I like to do – make the workplace better,” he said. “Let’s find the deficiencies and let’s make it better.”
Artigas said he’s able to apply lessons learned in the BSSM program to his work, and vice versa. For example, his courses in accident investigation, research methods and ergonomics have been very useful to his safety positions.
“Had I not taken these classes, my mishap investigation skills wouldn’t have been broadened. I would have solely focused on what I learned from the Air Force. Taking these courses opened my mind to other possibilities and gave me that experience to be able to produce better reports and make better safety recommendations,” he said.
Advice for Fellow Military Students
While life in the military can be unpredictable, Artigas encourages current and future Eagles to stay consistent and focused on their goals while pursuing higher education. He also stressed the importance of knowing what you want to do, staying disciplined and using your time wisely.