Safety

Identifying top hospital hazards and how to fix them

Hospital Safety Insider, May 29, 2014

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Hospital Safety Insider!

 

Just because certain hospital hazards are commonplace doesn't mean surveyors will cut you any slack on survey day. Here are the some of the most common hospital hazards that you should address immediately:
 
    •Ergonomic hazards. You've heard it all before. Slips, trips, and falls continue to be the top cause of worker injury in hospitals to the tune of 250,000 work-related injuries and illnesses per year, almost 58,000 of which cause employees to miss work, according to OSHA. Musculoskeletal injuries are the single biggest type, according to the agency, which led it to devote an entire section of its website to preventing worker injuries in hospitals.
 
    •Unlatching fire doors. Fire doors are there for a reason: to stop fires. If they don't close and latch properly when the fire alarm system releases them from their magnetic holds, they leave patients vulnerable. Doors that don't latch also present a huge Life Safety Code® violation, and The Joint Commission and CMS will nail your facility if they find too many of them. At least once per week, walk around the hospital and test the doors by letting them shut on their own. If they don't work, make a note and follow up with maintenance as soon as possible.
 
    •Expired food. This one might surprise you. Surveyors will check the refrigerators and pantries in your patient treatment wards for expiration dates. That carton of milk or the half-eaten loaf of bread the nurses left in there for their breakfast and forgot about? It may be perfectly fine for consumption, but an expired date will get you written up. In the pantries, reach way back and take a look at the dates on the little individual boxes of cereal and juice packs. If you've been rotating the oldest stock to the front, you're doing it right.
 
    •Smoking. In today's culture of non-smoking, it's hard to believe this is still an issue in hospitals, but despite all your efforts to make the facility a smoke-free zone, there are still people who will try to sneak a smoke. Even in patient rooms, visitors will sneak a pack of cigarettes to a loved one in the hospital, or prop open a back door leading to an alleyway for a quick drag. These are things that could lead to fires, and any signs of smoking are fodder for write-ups in a survey.
 
This is an excerpt from an article in the upcoming June issue of Briefings on Hospital Safety. Visit here to log in or subscribe.

 



Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Hospital Safety Insider!

    Hospital Safety Center
  • Hospital Safety Center

    Improve compliance with hospital safety standards from The Joint Commission, OSHA, and other regulators with this...

  • Healthcare Life Safety Compliance

    Created exclusively for healthcare facility managers, plant operations professionals, and directors of engineering, this...

  • Hospital Safety Insider

    Stay on top of hospital safety requirements and best practices with our free, fast-paced weekly update.

  • Basic OSHA Compliance Manual Kit

    Total compliance has never been easier. This one convenient package contains everything you need to ensure your outpatient...

  • Basic Dental OSHA Compliance Manual Kit

    Total compliance has never been easier. This one convenient package contains everything you need to ensure your dental...

Most Popular