Total Medical Compliance has always been a company that focuses on the safety of workers and patients. Over the past several months, we have been in partnership with Jerry McCormick, President of Personal Safety at Work, who has educated both clients and our TMC team members on another aspect of safety: facility safety. His vast knowledge of simple measures that can reduce the risk of workplace violence has been most appreciated, but also very timely.
Workplace violence is defined by the National Institute for Occupations Safety and Health (NIOSH) as “violent acts, including physical assaults and threats of assault, directed toward persons at work or on duty.” Enforcement action is taken when the assault is physical, but verbal violence can cause trauma and stress as well that can impact the employees’ well-being.
Violence can be initiated through many different pathways:
- Domestic violence spilling into the workplace,
- Disgruntled patient or family members,
- Individuals seeking narcotics,
- Co-worker disagreement, and
According to a report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics data revealed that in 2018, health care and social service workers were five times more likely to experience workplace violence than all other workers, comprising 73% of all nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work.
In the second of Mr. McCormick’s Workplace Violence Series, he will review the crime fighting tool, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, or CPTED. This tool encourages the use of certain best practices or systems in your facility to create a workplace that feels and is safer for everyone that enters.
During the process of preparing for this second webinar, five different healthcare practices were assessed and very simple recommendations were made to raise the level of awareness of all workers and decrease the likelihood of violence. The webinar session will cover the top 10 actions which can immediately impact the safety of your workplace. Because the holiday season can add additional stress to everyone, we wanted to share a few safety measures now.
- The reception area should have glass or plexiglass across the entire counter space that is affixed to the wall. There should be a 4-to-12-inch space at the top of covering to allow airflow from the HVAC system to operate. Ensure there is a small opening (either along the entire bottom of the reception area about 2 inches in height or cutouts at each receptionist desk) that will allow for exchange of papers with patients.
- Access to the clinical areas should always be secured in some manner. This may include a passcode or scanning of a badge, or the entry door is locked and must be opened by authorized personnel only. This layer of protection controls access to all staff when the front desk is secured.
- A back entrance to the facility/practice should always remained locked. For most businesses, this entry is not monitored, making it imperative to have some control of who enters the building.
Mr. McCormick will include many more safety recommendations in the second part of the webinar series which will be relatively straightforward to implement. Small changes can drastically reduce the risk of workplace violence and create a safe place for workers and for patients to receive care.