Archive for: Workplace violence prevention
I had the pleasure yesterday of spending a day at the 2015 annual conference of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), which is being held here in my beautiful hometown of Boston.
Being in the safety business, I sat in on a session about active shooter response preparation in healthcare facilities, led by an emergency physician and security director with Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. I didn’t leave with that feeling like we have our collective act together.
Are we really ready for someone to come into our hospitals with a gun, bent on causing mass carnage?
First, let’s start with the numbers. From 2000-2007, there were “only” about 6 shootings a year. From 2007 to today, the numbers jumped to 17 per year.
Many facilities are following the government’s recommendations to “run, hide, and fight” when confronted with a gunman. That’s fine training, if you’re in an office building. Run first, hide when you can, and fight back as a last resort.
But that won’t fly in hospitals and clinics where people are counting on you to help them survive. Poll numbers I heard quoted estimate that at least 40% of healthcare staff wouldn’t leave their patients’ sides, even when confronted with a shooter.
Hospitals need to train their staff to stay alive. Most active shooter incidents end within 7 minutes, and doctors and nurses are then required to turn around and treat the wounded and prevent as much death as possible.
So my question is this: What are you doing to prepare for an active shooter in your facility? Do you have specific plans? Are you training your staff, and what resources are you using?
Please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your thoughts on this very real threat.
Active shooters and armed violence represent a rapidly growing issue in America’s hospitals and healthcare facilities. These incidents occur on a near-weekly basis, which means it is time to face the fact that they can also happen in your facility.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to develop an emergency response plan. Join HCPro for a live webcast on Tuesday, September 23 from 1:00-2:30 p.m.
The program will be presented by healthcare safety experts Lisa Pryse Terry, CHPA, CPP, and Christian M. Lanphere, PhD, FP-C, NRP, CEM. They will teach participants how to lessen the risk of a violent confrontation and how to prepare facility staff in the event an armed intruder comes through their doors, and then will take your questions live.
For more information and to register for the webcast, call HCPro customer service at 800-650-6787 or visit http://hcmarketplace.com.\
We’ve been telling you for some time now that you need to get a workplace violence prevention plan in place in your facility, and now it’s time for us to help you get started.
If you’re looking for a place to start, we have lots of downloadable tools and resources for you to use in your own facility. For instance, try the workplace violence assessment checklist as a place to start to determine the weak spots in your facility’s security. Next, give our safety tips poster to your employees during your next in-service training meeting.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013 more than 23,000 significant injuries were caused due to assaults at work. More than 70 percent of these assaults were in healthcare and social service settings. Health care and social service workers are almost four times more likely to be injured as a result of violence than the average private sector worker, OSHA says.
Further statistics show that about 27 out of the 100, or about 30% of the fatalities in healthcare and social service settings that occurred in 2013 were due to assaults and violent acts.
As a result, OSHA issued the update to OSHA 3148 in April, encouraging healthcare workplaces to develop a workplace violence prevention plan. It’s not so much an “encouragement” as it is a warning that inspectors will be checking to make sure you have a plan in place.
We’re here to help you do your job better and safer. Look to HCPro for all of your healthcare safety and security resources!
OSHA likes to tout itself as a governmental agency that looks out for workers in all industries. But they aren’t doing a very good job of announcing a huge change to guidelines that could help protect healthcare workers from the rising problem of workplace violence.
It took a couple of well-connected readers to let me know that OSHA earlier in April released an update to its Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers, known to many in the safety field as OSHA Rule 3148. Good luck finding any of this on the OSHA web site, by the way.
After an inquiry to OSHA public relations, I was sent the updated guidelines, which you should pay attention to if you are in charge of safety at your facility.
According to its own statistics, OSHA says in 2013 more than 23,000 significant injuries were caused due to assaults at work. More than 70 percent of these assaults were in healthcare and social service settings. Health care and social service workers are almost four times more likely to be injured as a result of violence than the average private sector worker, OSHA says. Further statistics show that about 27 out of the 100, or about 30% of the fatalities in healthcare and social service settings that occurred in 2013 were due to assaults and violent acts.
Under pressure to do something about this, the updated OSHA 3148 recommends that all healthcare facilities develop an effective workplace violence prevention program. Pay attention, because the word is that the Joint Commission is also following these changes closely.
The new OSHA guidelines are very specific in the types of workplace controls that employers should consider, especially when it comes to facility security and keeping track of employers. Examples include:
- The use of silent alarms and panic buttons in hospitals and medical clinics
- Providing safe rooms and arranging furniture to make sure there are clear exit routes for workers and patients
- Installing permanent or hand-held metal detectors to detect weapons, and providing staff training on the use of these devices
- Ensuring nurse stations have a clear view of all treatment areas, including the use of curved mirrors and installing glass panels in doors for better viewing, as well as closed circuit cameras to help monitor areas
- Using GPS, cell phones, and other location technology to help keep track of staff working with patients in off-site locations
- Protection front-end and triage staff using facility design elements such as deep counters, secure bathrooms for staff separate from patient treatment areas, and using bulletproof glass and lockable doors with keyless entry systems
In addition, the recommendations include employing administrative controls designed to track patients and visitors who have a history of violence, to better educate workers on the dangers and signs of impending violence, and to ensure better reporting procedures. Some of these recommendations include:
- Providing clear signage in the facility that violence will not be tolerated
- Instituting procedures that require off-site staff to log in and log out, as well as checking in with office managers periodically
- Keeping a behavioral history of patients, including identifying triggers and patterns
- If necessary, establish staggered work times and exit routes for workers who may be subjects of stalkers
- Keep a “restricted visitor” list for suspected violent people, such as gang members, and make sure all staff are made aware
Also, OSHA recommends that employers provide updated training for employees, including:
- Risk factors that cause or contribute to violent incidents
- Early recognition of escalating behavior or recognition of warning signs
- Ways to recognize, prevent or diffuse volatile situations or aggressive behavior, manage anger and appropriately use medications
- Proper use of safe rooms—areas where staff can find shelter from a violent incident;
- Self-defense procedures where appropriate
- How to apply restraints properly and safety when necessary
- Ways to protect oneself and coworkers, including use of the “buddy system”
For more information, the Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers can be found at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3148.pdf
Question: Another practice in our medical complex had a bomb threat called in. What do I need to train our staff to do if it happens here?
Answer: The exact course of action will depend on whether the threat is received by phone, letter, handwritten note, email, or in the form of a suspicious package. Although what to do varies by situation, in all situations, do not:
- Use two-way radios or cellular phones, because radio signals have the potential to detonate a bomb
- Evacuate the building until after police arrive and evaluate the threat
- Activate the fire alarm
- Touch or move a suspicious package
The Department of Homeland Security has a good one-page document you can print out and put by each phone that receives outside calls to help staff members know what actions to take if they receive a suspicious call. It is available at http://emilms.fema.gov/is906/assets/ocso-bomb_threat_samepage-brochure.pdf
*This is an excerpt from The OSHA Training Handbook for Healthcare Facilities by Sarah E. Alholm, MAS.
The shooting at the Erie County (NY) Medical Center shows that violence in healthcare is not only limited to attacks on workers by patients and guests. Worker-on-worker and domestic disputes also are part of healthcare workplace violence concerns.
On June 13, Jacqueline Wisniewski, 33, was found shot to death in a stairwell in an Erie County Medical Center building, according to CNN, June 15. Police suspected Dr. Timothy V. Jorden, 49, a trauma center surgeon at the medical center and also believed to be in a relationship with Wisniewski.
Investigators found Jorden dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on June 15, CNN reports.
Click here for an OSHA Healthcare Advisor post on efforts to protect federal workers from domestic violence.
Week #3 of National Safety Council (NSC) Safety Month is Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls week. According to the NIOSH workbook, Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention for Healthcare Workers, the incidence rate of lost-workday injuries from slips, trips, and falls (STFs) in hospitals was 90% greater than the average rate for all other private industries combined.
NIOSH recommends conducting regular walk throughs using an STF check list to identify hazards, keeping a file of hazard photographs or descriptions, identifying staff members responsible for fixing the hazard and a targeted completion date. Compared to NIOSH recommendations, how thorough are you or staff members with regular STF walk-through inspection.
Take the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Weekly Poll and let us know.
Healthcare workplace violence can be of the physical or verbal type.
Here are the top three most common physical and verbal forms of workplace violence that emergency department RNs were exposed to in a seven day period, according to a 2010 survey by Emergency Nurses Association.
Healthcare workers were victims of workplace violence at more than twice the rate of the general workforce but less often than people in other dangerous jobs.
Federal employers will be required to create policies to prevent domestic violence in the workplace. Does your workplace violence prevention program specifically address the threats and effects of domestic violence in the workplace? Take the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Weekly Poll and let us know.
Hoping that all other employers will follow the example, President Obama issued a memorandum specifically requiring federal workplaces to protect workers from domestic violence related situations.
“The memorandum directs the Director of Office of Personnel Management, in consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and other interested heads of agencies, to issue guidance to agencies addressing the effects of domestic violence on the federal workforce, according to a White House news release.
According the White House announcement, the memo calls for:
- Guidelines for assisting employee victims
- Leave policies relating to domestic violence situations
- General guidelines on when it may be appropriate to take disciplinary action against employees who commit or threaten acts of domestic violence
- Steps agencies can take to improve workplace safety related to domestic violence
- Resources for identifying relevant best practices related to domestic violence
A recent study by study by NIOSH and the Injury Control Research Center at West Virginia University found that intimate partner violence resulted in nearly a quarter of the homicides among women at work in the U.S, and that healthcare is one of the more common settings where domestic violence occurs in the workplace.
|Don’t be part of the headlines. Prevent violence in your healthcare facility.
Two of today’s leading security experts will offer strategies to prevent workplace violence in healthcare during the 90-minute webcast Violence in Healthcare: Proven Strategies to Keep Your Facility Safe. They will discuss how you can stay compliant with government regulations, what you can do now to assess high-risk patients, and how to establish a violence prevention plan.For more information or to order, call 800/650-6787 and mention Source Code EOSHAB or visit The HCPro Healthcare Marketplace.
Bit of a plug, but visitors to OSHA Healthcare Advisor will find HCPro’s webinar on preventing violence in healthcare extremely relevant.
Despite Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alerts and OSHA guidance, violence in healthcare is on the rise and in the news.
Your workplace violence program will be ineffective unless you asses and act on the unique challenges presented by your patient profile, especially at-risk patients, facility setting, staff education, and available resource allocation.
So join Tony York and Alan Butler, two leading healthcare security experts, for Violence in Healthcare: Proven Strategies to Keep Your Facility Safe, a 90-minute webcast on May 23.