EKU Earns KEMI Destiny Award for Workplace Safety

Published on December 05, 2022

By Elise Russell

Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) has been named a 2022 Destiny Award winner from Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance (KEMI) for the fourth consecutive year. EKU is one of only 28 recipients from across the commonwealth to be recognized for its commitment to workplace safety with the Destiny Award. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private industry employers reported 2.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2020. Many of these incidents might have been prevented, which is why KEMI, Kentucky’s leading provider of workers’ compensation insurance, recognizes the efforts of employers in promoting workplace safety to prevent injuries and illnesses.  

“This award exemplifies that we practice what we preach,” said Dr. Bryan Makinen, EKU’s associate vice president for facilities management and safety. “To put a point on this, our workers’ compensation premium used to be around $1.4 million per year. It is now below $300,000!”

KEMI presents the Destiny Awards annually to the policyholders that best exemplify the motto, “Control your own destiny.” The award recognizes an organization’s ability to manage a formal safety program, provide on-site training and regular safety meetings for its employees and display an ongoing commitment to safety from all levels throughout the organization. 

“This is a testament to environmental health and safety, risk management and insurance, and other critical areas of campus partnering for success,” Makinen said. “This shows the steadfast commitment of this team, often working long hours and thinking outside the box, in dedication to success in safety—truly making safety the central theme that informs all decisions that are made.” 

Jon Stewart, president and CEO of KEMI, said, “Destiny Award winners are part of an elite group of organizations that have emphasized safety each day and demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the health and well-being of Kentucky’s workforce. Some have received the Destiny Award multiple years, and we appreciate the opportunity to work shoulder-to-shoulder with them and all policyholders to elevate safety programs throughout the commonwealth.”

In addition to prioritizing the safety of EKU employees, the university is also home to the OSHA Training Institute Education Center (OTI Education Center), which helps companies and organizations train their employees in workplace health and safety. It’s one of only 26 OSHA Training Institute Education Centers in the United States. EKU’s OTI Center served over 1,100 students in fiscal year 2022 and its renewal was recently announced by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Representatives from KEMI visited EKU on Monday, Dec. 5, to present the award.