Archive for: General Safety and Health

Latest scores show incremental progress in hospital safety

By: May 9th, 2013 Email This Post Print This Post

According to the Leapfrog Group, U.S. hospitals are only incremental progress when it comes to dealing with accidents, errors, injuries and infections that hurt or kill their patients.

The national, independent non-profit assigns letter grades to about 2,500 hospitals across the nation, a grade known as the Hospital Safety Score, based on hospital safety data and reviewed by a panel of eight hospital safety professionals.

Maine edged out Massachusetts in the 2013 survey as the state with the safest hospitals, as 80 percent of that state’s hospitals received a grade of “A.” Completing the top five states were Minnesota, Virginia, and Illinois.

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Latest scores show incremental progress in hospital safety

Whitepaper identifies strategies for safer healthcare work environments

By: March 19th, 2013 Email This Post Print This Post

Many healthcare workers are at risk of being bullied, harassed, demeaned, ignored, or physically assaulted or injured when providing care, making it difficult to provide safe healthcare for patients, according to a new whitepaper from the Lucian Leape Institute at the National Patient Safety Foundation. The paper notes that both emotional and physical harm occur at higher rates in the healthcare workforce than in other industries, and disrespectful treatment of healthcare employees increases the risk of patient injury.

The authors of the report recommend the following strategies to shape safety culture and bring meaning to workers’ daily activities:

  • Strategy 1: Develop and embody shared core values of mutual respect and civility; transparency and truth telling; safety of all workers and patients; and alignment and accountability from the boardroom through the front lines.
  • Strategy 2: Adopt the explicit aim to eliminate harm to the workforce and to patients.
  • Strategy 3: Commit to creating a high-reliability organization (HRO) and demonstrate the discipline to achieve highly reliable performance. This will require creating a learning and improvement system and adopting evidence-based management skills for reliability.
  • Strategy 4: Create a learning and improvement system.
  • Strategy 5: Establish data capture, database, and performance metrics for accountability and improvement.
  • Strategy 6: Recognize and celebrate the work and accomplishments of the workforce, regularly and with high visibility.
  • Strategy 7: Support industry-wide research to design and conduct studies that will explore issues and conditions in health care that are harming our workforce and our patients

 Read the entire white paper here.

Fire sparked by unusual mix of hand sanitizer and olive oil

By: February 27th, 2013 Email This Post Print This Post

When was the last time you reviewed your facility’s policies on the proper precautions for using alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR)? An unusual case in Oregon might encourage you to do so. A young girl was injured in a Portland (Ore.) children’s hospital due to an accidental fire caused by ABHR, olive oil and static electricity.

According to the state fire marshal, the patient had undergone an EEG exam and olive oil was used to remove the glue holding the electrodes to the scalp. The patient’s father speculates that the patient put ABHR on her shirt to remove olive oil that had dropped from her hair. When the girl attempted to create static electricity using her bed sheets, a spark ignited the fire.

Although this seems to be a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of case, it’s never a bad idea to review policies about ABHR placement, proper ventilation, and so on, and inform all staff members of potential hazards. ASHE, which reported on the incident, recommends that staff members ensure that ABHRs are used only as intended by patients and visitors.

Survey: Seasonal safety

By: December 19th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

The holiday season has begun, and (for some of you) winter weather is either here or on its way. As you look ahead to all that the holidays and cold temperatures bring, we’re wondering what your top safety-related concerns are for the weeks and months ahead.

Do increased patient loads put a strain on your staff? What about staff vacations or illnesses– does being short-staffed, or simply changing the routine, put you at a greater risk for safety issues? Is the main concern Old Man Winter, and how it affects your facility’s systems? Take the survey below; answers will be compiled in a future issue of the Hospital Safety Insider ezine and the Medical Environment Update newsletter.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

NIOSH tweets on Total Worker Health

By: July 24th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

For ground-breaking research, translation and best practices of integrative approaches to protecting and promoting health in the workplace, follow a new NIOSH Twitter feed, @NIOSH_TWH.

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Weighty issues: Obese patients and healthcare worker safety

By: July 23rd, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

The nation’s obesity epidemic has healthcare workers, especially nurses and nursing aides, bearing the brunt of injuries from unsafe handling of patients.

“In the course of an eight-hour day, a nurse will typically lift 1.8 tons, which is pretty astronomical,” said Amy Williamson, a workplace safety coordinator for Baptist Hospital, Nashville, TN, reports USA Today, July 19.

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Weekly poll: The Court’s decision on Obamacare

By: July 2nd, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Checking the political pulse of OSHA Healthcare Advisor Readers, are you pleased with the decision of the U.S Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, or in the parlance of our time, Obamacare.

Take the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Weekly Poll and let us know.

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OSHA cautions on fireworks hazards

By: June 29th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Usually the only fireworks that one equates with workplace safety is of the interpersonal type, but with Independence Day coming up, OSHA reminds employers,  employees, and regular consumers of the danger inherent in fireworks displays, both public and private.

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AIHA advice for OSHA includes stiffening fines

By: June 22nd, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) has released a white paper which highlights the emerging roles and issues facing OSHA.

“Perspective on the Role of OSHA in Advancing Occupational Safety and Health for the Nation” makes 17 recommendations addressing OSHAs current approach and opportunities for improved effectiveness in key areas enumerated in the agency’s strategic plan and the 2011–2016 strategic plan, including f the Department of Labor (DOL), including the modification of OSHA penalties.

AIHA calls the current maximum penalty structure—$70,000 per violation for willful or repeat violations, $7,000 per day for failure to abate hazards, and $7,000 per violation for other violations—”woefully inadequate” compared to fines from other regulatory agencies. For example, employer fines for breaking environmental laws can be as high as $25,000 a day.  Also, OSHA’s maximum criminal penalty for a willful violation leading to the death of a worker is six months compared to 15 years in jail for the serious violation of environmental laws.

“AIHA supports amending OSHA criminal penalties so that they are at least as stringent as penalties for violations of environmental laws.” according to the white paper.

Other recommendations include:

  • Having primary authority for all safety and health issues in workplaces that the agency regulates
  • Reforming the standard-setting process
  • Applying standards to all workers, including municipal, state and federal
  • Promoting occupational safety and health programs for small and medium-sized employers
  • The continuation of the general duty clause to enforce employer responsibility to provide safe and healthful working conditions.
  • Updating the Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs)

Nurses and depression

By: June 21st, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

At a rate of 18%, nurses are twice as likely to experience depression as the general public, according to a study published recently in the journal Clinical Nurse Specialist.

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Tips for slip, trip, and fall prevention week

By: June 18th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

The National Safety Council (NSC) reminds that week 3 of June National Safety Month is Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls (STF) week.

Here is a list of the Council’s STF tips to share with your co-workers.

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Weekly poll: How serious are you about ergonomics?

By: June 11th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

The National Safety Council has designated the second week of June as ergonomics week. Is an ergonomics policy a key part of the safety program in your healthcare facility?  Take the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Weekly Poll and let us know.


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