- OSHA Healthcare Advisor - http://blogs.hcpro.com/osha -

Start fresh with safety!

I hope this finds you all safe and refreshed after the July 4 holiday.

As I went about my celebrations this past weekend, I was reminded of how safety is – or at least should be – a very basic and common sense thing. Unfortunately, too many people don’t see it that way.

We could start with the tree that came down on power wires in my neighborhood during Hurricane Arthur on Friday, and the woman who got out of her car and tried to move it out of the way despite the sparks flying above her head.

Then there was the person who was killed when a firework went off prematurely, striking him in the chest and exploding. At an afternoon barbecue on Saturday, I had to remind my friend about the fire hazard that was present because her landlord had decided to leave a dishwasher in front of the door, blocking the rear exit of her third floor apartment.

Sunday, it was about the small child who was lost when she wandered away from her family picnic and was found a short time later, drowned in a local lake. And this morning while driving to work, I watched as yet another motorcyclist darted in and out of traffic carelessly without his helmet on.

There is a reason schoolchildren are taught safety lessons early on – “Stop, drop, and roll” as well as “Look both ways before crossing” are still fresh in my head. The idea is that children are impressionable and we hope safety lessons are learned and followed throughout their lives.

But maybe it’s time we start fresh as adults and rethink some of the basic safety lessons we should be following in healthcare. I could – and will – continue to follow and post any new standards and information from the Joint Commission, OSHA, and other regulatory agencies.

But until common sense prevails – and workers remember to put on their PPE, use their safety sharps, lift their patients properly, and don’t go near power wires – there will continue to be avoidable injuries and deaths in the healthcare field.

Maybe now is the time to get some bagels and have a quick safety meeting with your staff to remind them of this.