In the last few years, the healthcare industry has been affected by different issues regarding safety and security. According to the ASHE Hospital Security Survey 2018, more than half of hospitals in the US reported an increase in violence against staff over 2017. For this reason, more than 98% of the hospitals surveyed said that they conduct risk assessments, and 72% conduct them annually.
On the other hand, latest BLS data shows that workers in healthcare and social assistance lead the list of occupations with the highest rate of non fatal work injuries and illnesses, recording 544,800 workplace and 32,700 cases respectively. Not only can healthcare staff experience physical risks as being injured but also are exposed to high levels of stress everyday, which has increased due to the health crisis we are living.
As a recognition for the work healthcare staff is doing to fight against COVID-19, the WHO has designated 2021 as the International Year of Health Care Workers. Specifically from April 5th-9th, the same organization with the Frontline Health Workers Coalition commemorates World Health Worker Week.
In appreciation to healthcare workers, we dedicate today’s blog to workers within the industry to raise awareness for creating safe environments for the healthcare workforce as well as creating best practices for protecting them and third parties from safety and security risks that this industry can be exposed to.
We have identified three main safety and security challenges that the healthcare industry are facing and leadership should be assisted:
The main cause of work injuries in healthcare and social assistance workers is violence. There are different factors that can put employees at risk to experience violent attacks. For example, working with people with violent behavior or under the influence of drugs, working alone, or working in areas with high rates of crime. In fact, the BLS points that workers in this industry are 5 times as likely to suffer injuries caused by violence than the overall workforce.
Moreover, a 2017 AHA report found that approximately $1.1 Billion were spent in security and training costs to prevent violence in healthcare facilities; and $429 Million were spent in other costs including staff, medical care and indemnities resulting from violent attacks against workers.
Controlling visitors access
Visitor access is crucial to protect both employees and patients from external threats. Healthcare facilities can be targets of different incidents such as asset robbery, people with bad intentions/behaviors or even worse, mass shootings.
The same ASHE survey found that 100% of the respondents said they already have an electronic access control or they plan to implement one in the next 24 months. However, just over 42% of hospitals said they have a visitor management system which means processes that require visitors to sign in, provide an ID, be photographed or wear badges.
In addition to injuries caused by violence, healthcare staff can experience musculoskeletal injuries due to overexertion. Some activities that lead to getting injured include lifting and transferring patients manually, doing repetitive movements or working in awkward positions for prolonged hours. Other injuries result from slips and falls caused by slippy floors after using cleaning products or spills.
A Smart Badge to prevent and mitigate risk
Healthcare workers like nurses and doctors already wear badges. The Kwema Smart Badge is easily replaced by existing badge holders/reels and more importantly adds a layer of safety to healthcare staff preventing incidents and injuries in healthcare facilities, resulting from threats explained above. Kwema’s smart badge allows employees to alert security staff by pressing a button for three seconds when in danger. It can be used also to automate roll calls in case of active shooter and other security incidents that require mass evacuations. Our technology is designed to avoid training costs as it can be easily implemented into healthcare centers and accessories workers already wear.
Watch how Kwema is disrupting workplace safety