Healthcare Security and Safety Week 2015 -

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Healthcare Security and Safety Week 2015

This week (October 11-15, 2015) is Healthcare Security and Safety Week. The International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS) established this recognition week to highlight the role of security and safety personnel in healthcare facilities.

Logo for Healthcare Security and Safety Week 2015 from IAHSS

Individuals serving as healthcare security and safety personnel often seem like they are working in the periphery of the healthcare environment - unless the security officers are called to respond to an incident or the safety officer arrives to assist with a chemical spill, you might not notice the valuable work they do to enhance the Environment of Care (EOC).

IAHSS has developed a few key messages associated with Healthcare Security and Safety Week, but I wanted to "flesh out" some ideas about how security and safety team members can be assets to a healthcare organization. Hospitals and other healthcare organizations are ostensibly in the business of helping people to improve or maintain their health. Safety and security team members frequently embrace the more practical aspects of service to patients and clinical staff.

With the IAHSS' theme of "Secure Environment/Safe Care," here are some ways that security and safety team members improve the Environment of Care (EOC) of a healthcare facility:

  • watch for suspicious behavior from visitors and staff members
  • train and educate staff about workplace violence prevention
  • conduct emergency management exercises to allow for continued patient care in the event of a disaster or mass casualty event
  • maintain a cache of food and water to sustain patients, visitors, and staff in an emergency or disaster situation
  • ensure emergency eyewash stations are inspected frequently and function properly
  • assess pressurization of certain areas in the hospital, in order to protect patients from airborne contaminants and lower the risk of healthcare-acquired infections (HAI)
  • support monthly generator testing to ensure emergency power is available
  • train and educate staff about reducing corridor clutter, so as to reduce risks to staff and patients in the event of an evacuation
  • train and educate staff about allowable oxygen tank storage
  • survey the facility for slip, trip, and fall hazards
  • train and educate staff about waste minimization and sustainability initiatives
  • conduct audits of hazardous waste streams (including regulated medical waste and sharps, pharmaceutical waste, chemical waste, etc.) to ensure waste is being handled in an appropriate manner
  • remind staff to wash their hands frequently to prevent disease transmission
  • conduct personal protective equipment (PPE) audits to ensure fellow staff members are wearing PPE when needed
Security and safety team members frequently remind staff members, contractors, and physicans to conduct their healthcare-related work in a way that reduces exposure of coworkers and patients to unnecessary hazards. 

The Industrious Hygienist is part of a pretty fantastic team of healthcare security and safety professionals in Arizona. In recognition of Healthcare Security and Safety Week, here's a shout out to the team (I'm the one with glasses):

Celebrate Healthcare Security and Safety Week with the team from your hospital!

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