Hazards can be introduced over time as workstations and processes change, equipment becomes worn, maintenance is neglected, or housekeeping practices decline. Setting aside time to regularly inspect the workplace for hazards can help identify shortcomings so that they can be addressed before an incident occurs.

The best way to accomplish this is by conducting regular inspections of your departments, equipment, and work areas. Have your staff participate on the inspection team and talk to them about hazards that they see or report. We are all healthcare providers, one of the first things you learn when responding is “survey the scene”.  That applies to your workplace safety program as well.

Establishing a safety and health program in your workplace is one of the most effective ways to take care of your best asset: your employees. Something simple, look for slip, trip, or fall hazards that are inside the building.  This is not only important for your residents but for your staff and co-workers as well.  If the hazard is something that you can immediately fix (like moving an extension cord) do so, if it would require additional resources the issue should be reported through correct channels.  In some cases, you may need to block an area until it can be repaired.  Almost 50% of reported employee injuries are related to a fall.

Survey your departments.  Make sure that you are prepared for an unexpected event.  Power outage is frequent in some areas, this may increase during winter months.   

  • Is there at least one (1) operable flashlight or battery light in the department? 
  • How many employees know where to find it?
  • Check and see if there are two (2) exit signs that can be seen in the hallway.
  • Do you know the location of the emergency power outlets?

Before changing operations, workstations, or workflow; or introducing new equipment, materials, or processes, seek the input of employees and evaluate the planned changes for potential hazards and related risks.

Note: Many hazards can be identified using common knowledge.

 

Resource: RECOMMENDED PRACTICES FOR SAFETY AND HEALTH PROGRAMS www.osha.gov

Lisa Chadwick
Director of Safety and Risk Management