Our most frequent injuries result from patient lifting as well as slips, trips and falls, and strains and sprains.
Because workplace injuries can be costly to employees’ well-being and to Texas Health, we take a comprehensive approach to providing a safe, clean and healthy operating environment and to keep employees free from harm. This includes:
- Robust safety management system, programs, standards, controls, policies and procedures.
- Rigorous reporting and corrective action plans.
- In-depth training and education on how to spot and resolve workplace hazards and potential violence.
- Workplace assessments and dashboards to quickly identify issues and trends.
- Analysis of injury frequency, cost and severity.
- Comprehensive safety campaigns, committees and champions.
- Specialized equipment and safety management teams.
Texas Health has been delivering crisis intervention training to help employees mitigate and respond to issues in a non-violent way before they occur or escalate. Advanced training also was provided to behavioral health and security personnel.
Unfortunately in 2016, we experienced a 23 percent increase in patient attacks on employees. We believe that one attack is one too many so training is being expanded to other high-risk areas to help reduce this in the future. Part of the increase also may be attributable to our robust program that identifies these issues so we can better prevent them in the future.
We also trained staff on how to protect themselves from bloodborne pathogens, to properly wear personal protective equipment and to use error prevention tools. Recently introduced, the tools help employees deploy safety strategies, consider safety in all they do and speak up when they see unsafe behaviors.
Overall, Texas Health’s workplace safety performance improved in 2016. Our Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) incident rate was 4.3, which is substantially lower than the national average of 6.0 for hospitals and our lowest since 2009. We did experience a 9.5 percent increase in employee injuries caused by handling patients and will work to reduce strains from lifting in the coming year.
In 2017, we will continue providing safe workplace refresher training, increase safety awareness and provide hands-on learning opportunities to reinforce safety practices. We also will implement a new tracking system for employees to report safety concerns, errors, injuries and near-misses. This will more accurately capture safety data to identify trends.