Safety

Study: Preventing slips, trips, and falls with a proactive program

OSHA Healthcare Connection, October 9, 2012

Editor's note: The following article was written by guest columnist Dominic Shaw, owner of Waterline Studios, Inc., in Fort Collins, Colo. Shaw has 32 years of experience in the design of water features and has worked with healthcare facilities containing water structures to maintain patient and visitor safety.

Recent articles about a fountain in a Wisconsin hospital being contaminated with Legionella brought forth reports and studies about the maintenance of water features with the intent of educating facility owners on the proper care of such features. However, missing from the discussion was an evaluation of the fountain's design. Had the design been addressed during the planning stages, the facility may have avoided some of the conditions that led to the contamination. Hospital administrators should discuss some of the issues surrounding this incident with fountain designers and engineers in order to appropriately install safe water fixtures.

A fountain in any environment is certainly a luxury due to its cost, driven mainly by its special construction requirements when compared to standard building elements. A fountain basin has to be waterproofed and kept from leaking, piping must be passed through this waterproof container and routed through the building, floor space is required for specialty equipment, and of course there is the burden of long-term maintenance.

Source: Excerpted from Hospital Safety Center, November 2012.

    Hospital Safety Center
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