Healthcare Safety

OSHA Emphasizes Healthcare Safety – MAC Safety Provides your Solutions

Workers in the healthcare industry are exposed to unique hazards on a daily basis. These high risks include, but aren’t limited to, exposure to infectious agents, heavy lifting, and injuries related to events involving slips, trips and falls. Its estimated that injury-inducing accidents and incidents occur every 47 seconds in the healthcare sector.

For the sake of comparison, consider this. One year ago, there were 118 non-fatal occupational injuries for every 10,000 manufacturing workers. By contrast, the healthcare industry has 283 injuries for every 10,000 workers. Yet most of us would consider the manufacturing industry to be a riskier profession.

MAC Safety Consultants recognizes that eliminating accidents and hazards in healthcare facilities begins by cultivating a safer workplace. This can only be accomplished with leadership’s support and involvement. This is why MAC Safety has devised a strategy to help reduce the most common safety hazards in the nursing and residential care fields through an approach that focuses on:

  • Ergonomically correct patient lifting practices
  • Preventative measure to reduce slip, trip and fall event hazards
  • Precautions with blood-borne pathogens exposure

Healthcare workers dedicate their entire lives to caring for others, including our loved ones. Developing strategies to further promote safer facilities for these workers is of upmost importance to MAC Safety. Here’s an example of what we do:

Sequence of Job Example of Strategy Benefits to Employer Benefits to Healthcare (ins.)
Safe patient handling Proper Lifting Decreased injuries Decrease workers compensation
Fall Protection Prevent falls same level Fewer injuries Decrease workers compensation
Sharps Injuries Sharps, needle-sticks Decrease BBP Decrease workers compensation

Here are a few questions we’re frequents asked:

I’m an employer, why should I prioritize employee safety and health?

It’s the duty of an employer or employer representative to protect workers from on-the-job hazards that could result in employee injury or illness. Not only is it ethical but its smart business as well. Workplace accidents and injuries are very costly to employers. Lost workdays lead to disrupted or inferior healthcare services. Combine that with workers’ compensation claims and possible litigation costs, and it’s easy to see how quickly costs can add up. These costs are particularly destructive to small facilities or practices that are already struggling with today’s regulations and economy. Considerable money can be saved if work-related injuries or illnesses decline. Employee morale also increases, and with that comes better services. MAC Safety Consultants, Inc. can help your healthcare facility or practice get to this point.

Is reducing employee injuries and illnesses my responsibility?

It’s all-hands-on-deck when it comes to implementing the best workplace safety and health practices. The participation of every manager and every employee is essential. Any workplace safety and health program must be tailored to fit the specific needs, unique operations, and culture of the facility or practice it’s being developed for. A one-size-fits-all approach to safety practices won’t be effective. This is why MAC Safety doesn’t produce canned programs. When you work with us, you’re entering a true partnership. This means we make sure we understand your specific needs, goals and objectives. We also ensure you’re confident in what we’re offering before we proceed.

How can we create an effective safety program?

Any successful safety program must have these four elements:

  • The involvement of management and all employees
  • Comprehensive workplace analysis
  • Hazard avoidance and control
  • Thorough safety and health training/education

What does management commitment and employee involvement entail?

It describes a collaborative process between employers and employees with the goal of prioritizing workplace safety. For instance, this partnership is achieved when:

  1. The company’s written safety and health policy is finalized and posted for all to see
  2. Employees are involved in the policy-making process
  3. Both the employer and employees actively participate in safety activities
  4. Management holds regular meetings with employees to discuss safety and health practices
  5. Both leadership and employees abide by all defined rules pertaining to workplace safety
  6. Each party commits to developing the very best safety and health program

Explain a work-site analysis and how often it is needed?

A work-site analysis involves a thorough inspection of work-site conditions to identify any existing or potential on-site hazards or risks. To ensure that all potential hazards are eliminated before they become full-blown incidents or disruptions, employers and their staff should perform these inspections regularly. Employees should clearly understand the importance of habitually analyzing all jobs and work processes with safety in mind.

This can be accomplished by:

  • Being aware of common healthcare industry hazards
  • Encouraging and perhaps incentivizing employees to report on-site hazards
  • Examining the history of previous work-site condition reports
  • Developing a system to adequately report hazards and near-misses
  • Have trained personnel conduct regular inspections to identify and rectify work-site hazards

What else is there?

Your work environment and everyday practices should be reviewed on an on-going basis to control or prevent work-site hazards. This can be done by:

  • Meticulously maintaining equipment
  • Ensuring that hazard correction actions are in place and work
  • Ensuring all employees are trained on the proper use and maintenance or personal protective equipment
  • Ensuring that all employees comprehend and adhere to safe work-site procedures

How often do workers become sick or suffer injury?

As we touched upon earlier, the healthcare industry surprisingly has more workers injured on average than any other sector. In 2011, the healthcare industry reported 695,000 nonfatal occupational injuries or illnesses, which is more than 152,000 reported for the manufacturing industry.

The number of musculoskeletal injuries in healthcare and social assistance is 56 percent higher than all private industries – second only to the transportation and warehouse industries. In 2012, nursing assistants missed a total of 44,100 workdays with most absences stemming from overexertion, falls, slips, and trips.

At MAC Safety, we know we can help. Not only is our staff knowledgeable of OSHA compliance, but also our staff of certified trainers can customize a wellness program tailor made for your employees.