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Representatives from Kentucky Employer’s Mutual Insurance (KEMI) presented Eastern Kentucky University representatives with its prestigious “Destiny” award for safety at a ceremony in the Coates Building on November 15. EKU is one of only 24 award recipients in 2019 out of more than 24,000 policy holders.

“We have a great safety team here at EKU, and I’m excited about creating a culture that allows us to be honored with this award,” said Bryan Makinen, Executive Director of Public Safety and Risk Management. “Eastern Kentucky University has been making concerted efforts to advance a culture of safety on campus. This is evidenced by the award we are receiving today that showcases our dedication to providing a safe work environment as we support our primary function of teaching.”

The Destiny Awards are presented annually by KEMI to worker’s compensation policyholders that best exemplify KEMI’s motto, “Control your own destiny.” The awards symbolize what can be accomplished when organizations work together to improve workplace safety. Policyholders who earn the KEMI Destiny Award effectively demonstrate to KEMI their ability to manage a formal safety program, provide on-site training and regular safety meetings for employees, and display an ongoing commitment to safety from all levels throughout their organizations.

Bryan MakinenPowell Walton Milward, the University’s insurance provider, brought KEMI on several years ago to help lower the University’s accident rate and insurance costs. Both provided safety and risk management professionals who assisted with advancing University safety policies and practices on campus. “These companies provide a true partnership between the university, its employees and third parties to advance our culture of safety,” Makinen said. 

The award is the first in the University’s history. Just a decade ago, EKU’s annual insurance costs were around $1.4 million, but through a concerted, specific focus on safety and safety culture, EKU now pays around $300,000 per year. 

“You’re big, you’re spread out, and you have many departments. It’s tough to create a culture of safety and manage that. The interesting thing about this award is it takes everyone (in the workforce) to win it,” said Jeff Floyd, KEMI Loss Education and Safety Manager, while speaking at the ceremony. “I’m very happy and very proud to present this award to EKU. It’s a very deserved award for you.”