Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) staff met on Friday, November 30 for their annual staff training day. Being able to stroll down the hall to the large conference room rather than an off-site facility for the meeting was certainly a relaxing feeling for folks…nothing like the comforts of home!
Dr. Saddler welcomed staff and kicked off the meeting with a Health Department update and EHS service awards. Ten year service awards were presented to Kevin Kellner, Josh Kaiser and myself, who all interestingly began work at NKY Health on the same day in 2008! Laura Strevels was presented a 30-year service award. What an accomplishment and congratulations to Laura on her passion and dedication to public health! Dr. Saddler also presented an award to Steve Divine on behalf of the Kentucky Department for Public Health Emergency Preparedness in recognition of meeting all the requirements of the “Readiness Review” for fiscal year year 2017-18.
The action packed agenda included updates, presentations and review of 2018 services which were all delivered by EHS staff. Laura Strevels, Environmental Program Manager, gave an update on proper guidelines and procedures when responding to animal bite quarantine. Looking ahead, January is National Radon Action Month with free radon test kits available upon request. Justin Hancock, Environmental Health Coordinator, then demonstrated proper handling and packaging of specimens for submission to State laboratories for testing of rabies. With two bat submissions resulting in positive test for rabies since August of 2018, this refresher was timely.
Josh Kaiser and Kevin Kellner delivered a presentation in review of their permitting and inspection of the Greater Cincinnati/NKY Tattoo Convention held at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in September. Over 140 tattoo artists required registration and verification of blood-borne pathogen certification. 54 individual tattoo booths were inspected in one day prior to operating along with follow up inspections over the 3-day weekend. Kudos go to Josh, Kevin and staff that assisted with this large scale event, which was a first of its kind in our district.
Ted Talley, Food Program Manager and Nate Webb, Epidemiologist discussed the ongoing Hepatitis A outbreak in NKY. Over 200 cases have been confirmed locally including 2 deaths. Nate Webb advised staff of Hepatitis A transmission, symptoms, treatment and vaccination. This was a great opportunity to gain insight and pass that information along to food handlers during monthly food manager classes and daily routine inspections.
Steve Divine, EHS Division Director, then gave a division update including year in review accomplishments and a look forward to 2019. Approximately 17,000 services will have been completed when 2018 comes to a close which is an astounding number in hindsight! Proposed permit fee increases and modifications to the scheduling and re-certification of certified food manager classes was discussed. Steve then took time to answer questions that had previously been submitted by staff. Many of the questions submitted were clarification of existing policies and opportunities to streamline practices in hopes of becoming more efficient.
Everyone then enjoyed a great lunch buffet while watching the always entertaining “Violence in the Workplace” video. The day was fun and educational, and allowed for open discussions among all EHS staff on issues of interest. Finally, the meeting came to an end because as the video says, “You can only push a person so far”.