USC Aiken receives 2023 Palmetto Shining Star Safety Award

The University of South Carolina Aiken has been recognized for its commitment to campus and workplace safety as the recipient of the 2023 Palmetto Shining Star Safety Award from the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

The award was presented to university officials in a reception at 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 21, in the Denny Auditorium (Building 5) at the South Carolina Fire Academy.

The Palmetto Star Voluntary Protection Program recognizes qualified employers who exceed the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 in providing their workers a safe and healthy worksite. Palmetto Star sites are expected to properly protect their workers from the hazards of the workplace through their safety and health systems. Any employer in the United States can choose to apply to the program. To qualify, an applicant must demonstrate proper workplace safety.

"The diverse curriculum at USC Aiken requires the Office of Environmental Health and Safety to work closely with faculty and staff to ensure all safety protocols are followed," said Dominick Magliaro, environmental health and safety manager at USC Aiken. "Within the last year, our office has been working with university leadership to reinvigorate the safety emphasis on campus, with a focus on increased training, awareness and new program development."

Within the last year, USC Aiken Chancellor Dr. Dan Heimmermann approved the university's first official safety policy, setting the framework for a positive safety culture on campus.

To further that commitment, the university's Office of Environmental Health and Safety developed training materials, hosted drop-in training sessions, and hosted outside organizations for special events. The office also hosted the Federal Bureau of Investigations and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division in a Livewire homeland security tabletop exercise that evaluated the effectiveness of USC Aiken's emergency operations. The campus also hosted a fire awareness campaign which included hands-on fire extinguisher training in coordination with the Aiken Department of Public Safety.

In 2022, the university revamped its campus Emergency Action Plan (EAP) which aligns with the National Emergency Management System. In addition, Automated External Defibrillators ("AEDs"), first-aid kits and barrier devices were placed within every building on campus.

In addition to working on OSHA emergency requirements, USC Aiken's Office of Environmental Health and Safety has devoted efforts to indoor air quality. To alleviate future concerns, school officials purchased Indoor Air Quality ("IAQ") sampling equipment, with samples sent to a third-party lab for testing and evaluation.

USC Aiken has also instituted an awareness campaign to report workplace injuries. That information is available on the university's Environmental Health and Safety website.

For more information, or to view all the award winners, visit the agency's website.

For more information, contact Angela Saxon,