Workplace Safety

National Safety Month gives us a chance to think about workplace safety in a healthcare environment. Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association’s (AzHHA) Director of Care Improvement, Vicki Buchda, dives a little deeper into safety in the healthcare workplace in today’s blog. Once you’ve had a chance to read it, we’d love to have you share your thoughts!

Those working in health care are no strangers to the term Culture of Safety. Yet, often when we think about Culture of Safety we focus on patient safety without considering the work environment. As the Lucian Leape Institute (LLI) identified in 2013, workplace safety is linked to patient safety. Clinicians and staff can’t keep patients safe if they themselves do not feel safe and valued. When staff are not protected from physical and psychological harm, respected, and supported they are more likely to make errors and drift from safe practices and less likely to participate in teamwork.

The Partnership for Patients has set a goal of 20 percent reduction in worker harm related to patient handling and workplace violence by September 27, 2018. Safe patient handling and movement is a key component of workplace safety because the rate of overexertion injuries in healthcare workers is twice the average rate in workers across all industries (HRET, May 2017). Staff are also subject to emotional abuse, bullying, threats, intimidation and fear that is so prevalent that it is threatening to become the new normal.

We recently focused national attention on ending all forms of violence in hospitals during our second annual Hospitals Against Violence awareness day (#HAVhope). During the remainder of National Safety Month, ask yourself what role you play in keeping patients safe. Do you expect teamwork, mutual respect, civility, and inclusion? Do you honor staff for their teamwork as well as their technical expertise regularly and with high visibility? Do your staff find joy and meaning in their work? Have you done all that you can to ensure that staff have the training to keep themselves safe?

When staff feel cared for and about, and they engage in meaningful work, they are more likely to deliver safe care. And safer care helps to drive better health. And better health takes us another step closer to our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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