3 Tips to Create a Secure Working Environment for Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare facility owners often prioritize data security. That is essential, but you must not forget that your employees, too, deserve to be safeguarded. Healthcare professionals—be it nurses or physicians— leave no stone unturned to provide quality care to patients. However, their ability to deliver this care can be compromised if they do not feel safe and secure in their work environment.

Workplace violence is on the rise in the U.S. A 2022 survey conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians revealed that 55% of E.R. physicians were physically assaulted by patients. A third of those assaults resulted in injuries. 

Fires are also common in healthcare facilities. In 2023, a fire broke out at the Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital in Brockton. The fire was so destructive that it caused the facility to shut down. 

As a healthcare business owner, you must take proactive measures to make your facility safe for your employees. In this article, we’ll discuss a few tips that will help you create a secure working environment for your healthcare professionals. 

#1 Implement a Visitor Management System

Violence in healthcare settings isn’t uncommon; instead, it’s prevalent. Last year, a visitor caused trouble in the maternity ward of an Oregon hospital. Hours later, the visitor opened fire and killed a security guard. Such attacks are widespread throughout hospitals in the U.S. That is why implementing a visitor management system is important. 

A visitor management system or VMS adds a layer of security to your healthcare facility by allowing you to keep track of every person who enters it. 

Every person who walks into your hospital or care center will be required to register. They will have to sign in before they enter the patient ward or the emergency department. This sign-in process will serve as a deterrent for those who intend to commit a crime at your facility. Even if a security incident takes place, this accurate visitor record allows staff to quickly identify the culprit. 

#2 Install Fire Extinguishers

No business is fire-proof, not even healthcare facilities. Just recently, there was a fire outbreak in Richland Healthcare and Rehabilitation. Fortunately, the staff evacuated the patients, and no significant injuries were reported. 

The mere thought of a fire breaking out at your healthcare facility might send a chill down your spine. While you cannot make your healthcare facility immune to fire, you can invest in fire extinguishers. Your staff can use them to prevent a fire from escalating. 

Hospitals are at risk of Class A (solid combustibles like paper and textiles), Class B ( flammable liquids like diesel), and Class C (flammable gasses, such as hydrogen) fires.  Go for ABC powder fire extinguishers. These put out Class A, B, and C fires. Aqueous film-forming foam is also used in healthcare settings but you must avoid going for it. 

AFFF, or aqueous film-forming foam, is effective at dousing Class A and B fires, but it has been linked with numerous types of cancer. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS are present in AFFF. These chemicals are notorious for their persistent nature. One study found that exposure to these chemicals increased firefighters’ risk of testicular cancer. 

Countless AFFF lawsuits have been filed by firefighters. These lawsuits allege that the manufacturers of firefighting foams were aware of the dangers of PFAS in AFFF. Yet, they failed to warn them. 

A class action lawsuit has also been filed in New York on behalf of military service members exposed to PFAS during their time in service, informs TruLaw. The companies named as defendants in the AFFF lawsuit include Tyco Fire Products, Chemours, DuPont, and 3M. 

While determining the exact amount is difficult, the AFFF Lawsuit settlement amounts may range between $40,000 and $300,000 or more. Thus, you should avoid going for AFFF; instead, opt for an ABC powder fire extinguisher for your healthcare facility. 

#3 Invest in Wearable Panic Buttons

Wearable panic buttons can be a lifesaver for healthcare professionals. A wearable panic button is simply a device that is worn around the neck or put on clothing like a belt.  

In case an employee needs help, they can simply press the button. The badge will contact the designated on-site administrators, such as medical or security staff, and 911 emergency services through Bluetooth or WiFi. The designated representative can, thus, help them right away. 

Given that workplace violence is common in healthcare facilities, you must invest in wearable panic buttons. In case a visitor attacks any of your employees, they can immediately press the button to inform the authorities, who can take prompt action.  This will give your employees peace of mind, allowing them to dispense their duties with dedication and focus. 

To wrap things up, healthcare professionals work hard day and night to provide the best care to patients. As a healthcare facility owner, you must prioritize their safety. These tips will help you create a safe and secure working environment for your employees. 

Prioritizing your workers’ safety not only boosts morale and productivity but also instills confidence in your workforce, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes.

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