Friday, March 14, 2014

Reduce injuries, save money and improve patient care

A Safety and Health Management System

A safety and health management system (also known as an injury and illness prevention program) is a proactive, collaborative process to find and fix workplace hazards before employees are injured or become ill. Almost all successful systems include six core elements:

• Management leadership
• Employee participation
• Hazard identification and assessment
• Hazard prevention and control
• Education and training
• Program evaluation and improvement

Many hospitals already have these elements in place to comply with Joint Commission requirements for patient safety, and some have adopted a related set of “high reliability organization” concepts. It is a natural fit to extend the same principles to employee safety.
Fourteen hospitals participate in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), which require an effective safety and health management system. They have consistently kept injury rates below the national average. In general, the average worksite in VPP has
a Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred case rate that is 52 percent below the average for its industry.

Safe Patient Handling

Your hospital can address the biggest cause of workplace injuries with a comprehensive program to promote safe lifting, repositioning, and transfer of patients. Safe handling programs can include:
• Equipment, which can range from ceiling-mounted lifts to simple slide sheets that facilitate lateral transfer
• Minimal-lift policies and patient assessment tools
• Training for all caregivers or for dedicated lifting teams on properuse of the equipment

Several states require hospitals to implement safe patient handling programs, and more are considering it. Many tools, resources, and best practices are available to help you build or enhance your program.

By implementing a minimal-lift policy and other safety initiatives, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital reduced lost time days by 83 percent in just three years.

After investing $800,000 in a safe lifting program, Stanford University Medical Center saw a five-year net savings of $2.2 million. Roughly half of the savings came from workers’ compensation, and half from reducing pressure ulcers in patients.

Tampa General Hospital’s lift teams have used mechanical lifting equipment to reduce patient handling injuries by 65 percent and associated costs by 92 percent.

By implementing a safe handling program, a small hospital in South Carolina cut turnover of older nurses by 48 percent and saved $170,000 on associated costs.

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