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Safety committee meets

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By Calen McKinney

They want everyone to be safe, and are taking steps to ensure that happens.

Taylor County Fiscal Court members have formed a safety committee, after receiving a recommendation to do so by the Kentucky Association of Counties, to which Taylor County belongs.

Dwayne Litton, safety and loss control representative at KACO, said to magistrates at the committee's first meeting on Tuesday afternoon, that the county is very fortunate to not have experienced many workplace injuries.

"That's what we want to keep on doing, keeping our employees safe," he said.

Terry Davis, the city's safety director, also attended the meeting. He said the city's safety committee meets every other month. The group has created checklists and forms to complete to ensure safety records are kept. He said there is a lot of training available, some of which is free, to keep employees in the know about safety procedures.

Litton said there are many safety issues to consider, such as county employees working with chemicals, knowing the hazards of their jobs and evacuation plans for use in emergencies and basic CPR and first aid.

He said he encourages magistrates to be involved with the committee, as well as the local sheriff and jailer.

At the jail, he said, it's important that inmates know the hazards they face when they are allowed to work outside. And it's important that they are taught how to stay safe.

He said he knows there is a lot for the group to do, but it's important that the committee form and get established.

So far, Litton said, about a third of the counties who are KACO members have formed safety committees.

Magistrate John Gaines, who is retired from working at Taylor Regional Hospital, said the hospital has a committee and it's important to think about safety.

"You're looking at prevention," he said.

Davis said there are safety grants available to help pay for equipment such as hardhats and other protective gear.

Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers said most companies today have safety directors in place and the county might need to look at doing that too.

Magistrate Richard Phillips, who works at TRH, said there are employees there who are in charge of making sure all accident forms are completed and all information is documented.

And Litton said that is necessary for the county because employees deal with many different types of chemicals and pesticides and handle heavy equipment, such as at the County Road Department.

Gaines said ensuring records are kept is a great responsibility. And Litton said doing so can save the county in the long run, should an employee or customer at the Taylor County Courthouse be injured on site.

Litton said the committee should focus on safety precautions at the courthouse.

"Do employees know what to do in an emergency?" he asked. "If somebody gets mad somewhere and pulls a gun, what are we gonna do?

"Everybody needs to be safe and know what to do and think about what to do."

There used to be metal detectors and security officers at the courthouse, Rogers said, but they were moved to the Taylor County Judicial Center when it was built.

Rogers said the committee's next meeting should bring the county's department heads together to begin seeing who might be willing to help form the committee and begin to create safety policies.

Magistrate Matt Pendleton said he believes it will be good to ask city officials for guidance, since the city already has such a committee.

The group sent a tentative next meeting date of Tuesday, Aug. 12, at 4:30 p.m. at the courthouse. The meeting will be open to the public.