Workplace safety is very important and organizations are responsible to ensure the safety of every employee. A safe workplace allows employees to focus on their work without worrying about any accidents or other such incidents. The health sector is one where employees are potentially exposed to many risks. Workplace safety is all the more important in the health sector. The following are 10 daily tips that can be implemented in health sector organizations to ensure workplace safety.
Understand all Risks
The first thing required is to understand the risk involved in the workplace. The potential accidents or health hazards that can occur need to be known to every employee. This ensures they are aware and alert. Workplace safety training courses can help in making employees understand risks. Safety training certification can be made mandatory to ensure this.
Wear Facemask and Gloves
While working with people who are ill or working in a lab where there is a risk of exposure to pathogens, it is important to wear a facemask to prevent exposure. A good quality facemask (preferably with a respirator) ensures safety. Wearing disposable gloves is a must while working with patients or samples.
Handle Sharp Objects Carefully
Sharp objects, particularly needles, need to be handled very carefully. There is a high risk of being pricked by a needle, which can contain pathogens and needs to be handled with utmost care. Using gloves is a must while touching sharp objects. Disposal of sharp objects must be ideally done at the source so that the risks are minimized.
Follow Best Practices
Health care workers are exposed to the risks of diseases every single day. Best practices that are universally followed need to be implemented. These include:
- Hand hygiene: washing hands with a sanitizer or antiseptic soap and water.
- Avoid touching the face after contact with a patient or samples.
- Ensuring all instruments are cleaned and sanitized every time they are used.
- Taking adequate precautions before entering the operating theater or an ICU.
- Compulsory use of protective clothing and equipment like gloves, facemask, safety goggles, and gowns (as required).
- Ensure employees are properly trained on handling chemicals as well as samples that contain blood/pathogens. Regular training is needed to reinforce best practices.
- Proper storage of chemicals, especially acids and hazardous chemicals is required. Samples need to be stored properly to prevent workers from being exposed to risks.
Prevent Muscle Injuries
Health care workers may need to lift various equipment, wheelchair, and trolleys. They need to take care to avoid muscular or skeletal injuries. While lifting heavy objects, one must lift with thigh muscles and prevent strain on the back. Keeping the legs apart and keeping the weight close to the body is recommended. A mechanical device/aid to lift patients or objects can help in preventing muscle strains and back injury.
Hospitals use many different types of equipment. All the equipment needs regular maintenance in order for it to be in good working condition. Equipment not maintained properly can fail, causing accidents and health hazards. Making a maintenance schedule and following it is a must.
Proper Fire Safety
Fire is a possibility in a health care organization. Fire safety measures need to be in place like adequate fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, fire alarms, and sprinklers. Every employee needs to be trained in fire fighting and fire safety measures. Regular fire drills help prepare for such contingencies.
Try Working in Pairs
In a healthcare setup, it is ideal to work in pairs especially while lifting things or lifting patients. This ensures proper distribution of load and decreases the risk of muscle strains. It also ensures safety for the patient, preventing any accident from occurring.
Working continuously without a break can be physically and mentally stressful. A person who is stressed is likely to be less alert. This increases the risk of an accident or a mistake that can affect not just the person’s health but the health of other people. Organizations must allow regular breaks so that employees are refreshed and can do their work with proper concentration. Doing difficult jobs at the start of the day is a good practice as the employee would be fresh and can focus better.
Voice your Concerns
Every employee must have the right to voice his or her concerns over workplace safety. There must be a system to report any health hazards or incidents immediately so that action can be taken. Employees must be encouraged to give suggestions to improve safety at the workplace and management must consider them earnestly.
Every employee needs to be aware of the above, so they can implement these tips and ensure safety at the workplace. Organizations can encourage employees to avail of online safety training courses to ensure workplace safety.
This article has been written by Marilou Alcaide, Content Coordinator at Coggno, a Learning Management System for employees & students. Creating appealing content to engage the readers all around the world is the author’s keen desire.