Managing Risks in Healthcare Facilities

(8 minute read)

36.5 million

Hospital Admissions

Hospitals are some of the busiest facilities in operation, with doctors, nurses, and medical staff busy diagnosing and treating the sick, injured or dying, around the clock. They are also one of the most dangerous places to work within the healthcare industry. With thousands of employees contributing to the day-to-day operations in busy hospitals, the risk for injuries and accidents is extremely high. How does management in various departments ensure their employees and third-party contractors are compliant?

The total admissions into U.S. hospitals in 2019 was a staggering 36,510,207. This is a shocking figure, which raises the question of how many staff work in hospitals? In the U.S. alone, there are a reported 6,210 hospital facilities, including community hospitals, federal government hospitals and non-federal psychiatric hospitals and over 20.7 million healthcare and social assistance workers.

"Healthcare workers often put themselves at risk for injuries and accidents to protect their patients."

Not including medical staff, third-party contractors fill the following roles: janitorial, food service, delivery, maintenance, landscaping, and security. Are they all compliant and qualified for the job? Or are injuries happening because they're not up to date with policies and procedures?

Due to the busy and unpredictable nature of their jobs, healthcare workers often put themselves at risk for injuries and accidents to protect their patients. A U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics report states that in 2018, the U.S. healthcare and social assistance industry recorded more work-related injuries and illnesses that resulted in “days away from work” than any other industry.

In addition to injury and accidents, there are also security risks in keeping patients, employees, and visitors safe from violence and threats in healthcare facilities.

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What are the most common incidents in the healthcare industry?

  • Overexertion and bodily reaction from the manual lifting, moving and repositioning of patients.
  • Slips, trips and falls from spilled water and liquids on the floor, damaged flooring, loose cords, hoses and wires.
  • Contact with sharp objects like surgical instruments, broken glass, and needles.
  • Violence such as assault, verbal threats, and physical attacks by patients, distraught family members, intruders and even co-workers.
  • Healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) are very serious and potentially fatal. These infections can arise in any healthcare facility, including hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and long-term care facilities.

HAIs can be caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses and are a significant cause of illness and death. At any given time, about 1 in 25 inpatients have an infection related to hospital care. These infections lead to the loss of tens of thousands of lives and cost the U.S. healthcare system billions of dollars each year.

HAIs are preventable and often caused by poor hospital conditions or human error. Third-party contractors are continuously going in and out of healthcare facilities performing necessary work, but without proper site-specific training and they have limited knowledge of how their presence can negatively affect a patient with a compromised immune system. Ongoing education and training around the potential risks is imperative for these contractors.

As we can see from the most common incidents listed above, safety needs to be at the forefront of all healthcare facilities to protect patients and staff. These facilities need to outline and define infection control strategies for their staff and vendors, safe workplace plans and violence prevention mitigation plans. They should also provide training that is required by healthcare governing bodies – such as OSHA, to ensure that staff and vendors are compliant and aware of their part in maintaining a safe and healthy workplace environment.

What are the security considerations in the healthcare industry?

From a security perspective, the healthcare industry is a very complex environment. There is a lot of ground to protect in and around a hospital, as there are multiple buildings, many floors, and open parking garages to monitor. Security staff often encounter high-stress situations in hospitals since emotions run high exposing patients, visitors, physicians, and nurses to potentially dangerous situations.

There are also specific floors that need a higher level of security, such as the neonatal intensive care unit, labour, and delivery unit, women’s facilities, behavioural health facilities, and children’s hospitals. Many multiple access permissions are needed as well – from visitors, contractors, employees, medical students, nursing staff, contracting nursing staff, construction contractors, pharmaceutical vendors, and equipment manufactures.

What are the best practices for managing healthcare safety, security and compliance?

When considering all the safety, security and compliance concerns within the healthcare industry, it can seem overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be this way. ComplyWorks has solutions already built and implemented within the healthcare industry to help facilities manage this complexity. Our solutions can help manage and track employees and third-party contractors within healthcare facilities to help mitigate potential safety, security and regulatory risks. If you don’t have one already, it’s a smart solution that offers an easy and affordable way to address these challenges.

ComplyWorks’ solutions can help:

Manage contractor compliance challenges
Ensure contractor compliance is up to date – ComplyWorks easily tracks insurances, licenses, regulatory compliance and safety statistics, then provides this information to you in a user-friendly dashboard so you can hire qualified contractors. Your contractors will benefit from automatic reminders prior to their documents expiring so they can easily maintain compliance.
Improve incident reporting processes
Improve incident reporting processes Using ComplyWorks to easily track hazards, injuries, incidents and near misses allows facilities to identify, capture, fix and close issues quickly and provides learnings to prevent incidents in the future.
Manage security
Improve efficiencies regarding badging and credentialing processes for new hires, employees, contractors, and visitors.
Train your staff and keep them up to date on best-practices
Hazardous tasks in healthcare environments such as proper manual handling by staff and contractors is crucial to ensure a safe environment. Proper training with ComplyWorks’ solutions can prepare staff for the hazards associated with their role and inform them of best practices to improve safety.
Find workers faster
Search ComplyWorks’ vast contractor network to find qualified workers who are available, live in the geographic area and have the required skill set to fill the role quickly to prevent staff shortages.

Have peace-of-mind knowing you are hiring and working with fully certified third-party contractors who are compliant with all regulations relevant to a specific job - reducing risk and keeping safety at the forefront. ComplyWorks has also partnered with a leading screening company to provide clients with the ability to perform background checks prior to hiring.

Can you depend on your contractors and suppliers?

Schedule a free demo today to learn how our affordable, web-based compliant management system can easily integrate into your organization and effectively help you manage your:

“There are a lot of products out there, but ComplyWorks is the easiest. It’s simple to set up, manage and make changes as we need. I would highly recommend ComplyWorks to anyone who is having challenges with tracking and centralizing training, contractor management or client approval requirement.”

Health & Safety Manager, Cervus Equipment

FAQ Summary

What are the most common incidents in the healthcare industry?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, in 2018 the most common incidents in healthcare were: overexertion and bodily reaction from manual work such as lifting; slips trips and falls; contact with sharp objects; violence; and healthcare-acquired infections (HIAs).

What are the best practices for managing safety, security and compliance in healthcare?

1. Manage contractor compliance
2. Improve incident reporting
3. Training for staff and third parties
4. Managing security
5. Hiring qualified workers and contractors

Why is compliance important in healthcare?

Compliance in healthcare creates a safe, healthy and secure environment that protects patients, employees and contractors coming to the site. By defining and managing compliance requirements, healthcare facilities can implement an effective plan to improve health and safety while reducing risks and costs.

How many people work in the healthcare industry?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, in 2018 there were 20,722,700 employees in healthcare and social assistance.