Hospitals should be places of healing and hope, not violence.
Unfortunately, workplace violence is escalating in health care institutions across the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 23,000 significant injuries from assaults occur at work each year; 70 percent of those assaults are in health care and social service settings. Eighty percent of violent incidents were caused by patients, most often in psychiatric wards, emergency departments, waiting rooms and geriatric units. Being prepared to manage all disruptive scenarios, ranging from angry outbursts to active shooters, has never been so important.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care workers are five times more likely to be victims of violent acts than the average worker. Workplace violence:
- Takes a toll on employees’ stress levels and morale
- Contributes to absenteeism and employee turnover
- Increases the likelihood of patient safety errors
- Results in lower patient satisfaction scores
- Costs hospitals in the U.S. more than $2 billion each year
Our employees devote their lives to health care. In turn, we need to do everything in our power to ensure their safety.
IHA’s Workforce Safety Survey
In 2015, the Indiana Hospital Association’s Council on Workforce Development began the process of measuring workplace safety within Indiana hospitals by distributing a workforce safety survey to members. Through the participation of 67 hospitals across the state, 2014 baselines were established for the following measures:
- Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR)
- Days Away Restricted or Transferred (DART)
- Bloodborne Pathogen Exposures
- Patient Handling Injuries
- Workplace Violence
IHA plans to improve the consistency of workforce incident reporting, provide forums to share best practices and deliver workplace safety education. In 2017, IHA has distributed a survey to evaluate what support hospitals need in terms of workplace safety support from IHA.
The Council on Workforce Development is committed to making hospitals safe places to work. Through your continued support, we can achieve our goals to improve data collection, educate hospital workers and reduce incidents throughout Indiana. If you have any questions, please contact Andy VanZee at 317-423-7796.
IHA is helping Indiana hospitals prevent and manage violence in the workplace.
Workplace violence is an IHA priority and a HIIN topic, and in 2016, IHA, at the direction of the Council on Workforce Development and in collaboration with the Indiana Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration and the Indiana Society of Healthcare Risk Management, held a Prevention and Management of Violence in the Workplace Conference.
This conference, with more than 100 participants in attendance, addressed ways in which facilities can prevent worker harm due to workplace violence and explored necessary steps in creating a comprehensive hospital program that keeps workers safe.
IHA will continue to offer educational opportunities and resources for member hospitals striving to prevent workplace violence. In fact, IHA’s Council on Workforce Development’s recent efforts to measure workplace safety within Indiana hospitals includes a focus on gathering data related to workplace violence in order to establish baselines from which to improve. A survey was recently distributed and concluded in April 2017 to evaluate the needs and preparedness of Indiana hospitals. Results and resources stemming from the results of this survey should be available throughout the coming year.
Violence isn’t the only threat to worker safety.
According to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, nursing assistants suffered more musculoskeletal disorders in 2011 than any other occupation. The majority of these injuries were related to overexertion caused by lifting, repositioning and transferring patients and catching or reacting to a falling patient.
IHA’s Council on Workforce Development’s recent efforts to measure workplace safety within Indiana hospitals includes a focus on gathering data related to Patient Handling Injuries. The Patient Handling Injury measure indicates the total number of injuries in a given time frame for every 100 full-time employees involving the movement of a patient or client regardless of whether it is performed manually or through the use of a patient lift or other movement assist device (i.e. rolling or sliding board).
Establishing Patient Handling Injury baselines is the first step in preventing injuries for employees. Hospitals can reduce these injuries by:
- Developing institutional policies related to patient handling
- Acquiring the proper equipment to assist employees
- Increasing employee training and education in regards to new policies and new equipment
- Fostering a culture of safety
For additional resources on safe patient handling, visit the OSHA website, or contact Madeline Wilson or Kim Radant.