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Any work environment can have safety risks. However, people who work in certain fields face danger at work every day. Firefighters, police officers, soldiers and certain other professions come to mind. How about healthcare workers? They face risks every day, but it is possible to reduce them, with the goal of making the environment safer for everyone.

What Are the Dangers?

Hospitals have serious hazards – lifting and moving patients, needlesticks, slips, trips, and falls, and the potential for agitated or combative patients or visitors – along with a dynamic, unpredictable environment and a unique culture. That’s the bad news. The good news is that it’s possible to mitigate the risks, and when that happens, it benefits the employees, but it also benefits everyone else.

There is growing evidence that providing a safe work environment for employees corresponds with a safer patient environment. The aforementioned hazards in hospitals can be serious, and when the environment is safer for hospital employees, it’s logical that it would be safer for patients, as well. How does a healthcare environment go about increasing safety and reducing risk?

Addressing the Problem

Making a healthcare environment safer does not involve quick fixes. The solutions must be tailored to the problems. If there are a lot of slips and falls, is it partly because there’s water on the floor, especially when the weather is bad? If so, a campaign to encourage the use of umbrella bags to keep floors clear of puddles may help. For needlesticks, how about development of safe zones for passing sharps and purchase of sharps with safety devices whenever possible?

In addition to tackling each problem and developing a solution for it, it’s important to be mindful of the attitude toward safety. A culture of safety is paramount, in which all leaders, managers, health care workers, and ancillary staff have a responsibility as part of the patient-centered team to perform with a sense of professionalism, accountability, transparency, involvement, efficiency, and effectiveness.

Next Steps

Solving safety problems and developing a culture of safety creates a foundation of safety, and a hospital or other healthcare environment can build on that in important ways. Distinctive innovations include safety messages on all computer screensavers and use of peer safety coaches. Team communication training can help, too, because even the best systems can fail if there is a lack of communication.

How will employees learn about safety updates? How will new employees learn about specific safety measures beyond the basics at orientation? Create an operations and safety playbook and place it on the company intranet. Safety operations assessment reviews, including annual and unannounced safety systems audits, are an important tool to keep the environment as safe as possible going forward.

We Get It

At 365 Healthcare Staffing Services, we specialize in the recruitment and placement of healthcare professionals in per diem, travel, and permanent assignments in healthcare facilities across the country. We know you take staff safety seriously; we do, too. We take recruitment and placement seriously, too, and we’re experts in the field. If you are looking for per diem, travel, or permanent employees, we can help. Give us a call at 310.436.3650 today!

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