Workplace Safety in Healthcare: 5 Top Tips for Protecting Staff

Jan 12, 2022 | Healthcare, Safety and Security

Here at Little Green Button, our priority is keeping people safe and protected at their workplace. One sector where that’s really important is the healthcare sector. So, how do we prioritise workplace safety in healthcare to ensure we’re protecting the people that keep us safe?

Staff safety is a prerequisite to patient safety. If a healthcare worker isn’t safe in their workplace, they can’t ensure that their patients are safe. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 63% of healthcare workers report experiencing any form of violence at the workplace. Health organisations, such as the NHS, care facilities and other health organisations across the USA and Australia must prioritise healthcare workplace safety if they want to protect their staff and patients.

In this article, we’ll cover our top 5 tips for keeping healthcare workers safe. These are our vital tips that everybody in the healthcare industry needs to know and put into practice at work.

Workplace safety in healthcare staff means looking after both their physical and psychological safety at work. It’s crucial that there are measures put in place in every healthcare business, organisation or location that address both aspects of staff safety.

Read on to find out our top 5 tips for keeping healthcare workers safe at work.

1. Provide extra support to problem areas

One of the most important things to remember when you’re looking at a safety plan for your building or company is that not every area is equally at risk. While you need to ensure that you don’t just assume that some areas have zero risk of incident, it’s important to take a view of any problem areas that you may have. In healthcare, these are often reception or triage areas which bear the brunt of threats, violence and other issues.

So, when you’re working on your healthcare safety plan, it’s sensible to introduce extra support to these areas, whether that comes in the form of extra security staff, barriers, more staff training, or other kinds of support.

2. Make changes to the location with safety in mind

Similarly, are the waiting areas, reception areas or queuing systems in your building designed with safety in mind? How could you improve safety in these areas by making physical changes? This may include adding physical barriers or queuing measures, or simply moving the location of staff checkpoints.

This doesn’t mean that you have to gate everybody off from everybody else, or introduce barriers at every possible point. It just means understanding where common flash points are in your building, and creating sensible barriers in between to allow your staff time to defuse the situation or to keep them safe and protected.

3. Communicate clearly and effectively

As a healthcare organisation, you need to be communicating clearly with your staff in terms of keeping them safe and encouraging them to report any incidents. It’s also vital that you communicate with patients to ensure that they understand what constitutes unacceptable behaviour, and that there are measures in place to take abuse seriously. This may involve physical signage around the building as well, so ensure you display this prominently.

When it comes to your staff’s wellbeing, the key is to have support plans in place for every member of staff and to have a system of regular check-ups – communicate empathetically and sensitively in these meetings.

4. Staff training

Proper staff training is one of the most essential aspects of keeping healthcare staff safe. While healthcare organisations will be well-practised at delivering training around sharps safety and the required PPE, it may be less common to encounter training on mental health issues, or even on de-escalation.

Proper conflict resolution training can encourage healthcare staff to work on safety issues themselves, and empower them to de-escalate any issues before they become bigger incidents. Similarly, mental health training will allow staff to better understand their own health needs and take ownership of the process, helping them manage stress before it becomes burnout.

5. Security measures

Obviously, wide reaching and effective security measures are a vital part of keeping healthcare staff safe. These security measures may include a publicly posted and enforced zero tolerance policy for abuse, ensuring that you analyse any safety incidents that do occur, alongside your physical barriers, security staff and other measures.

It’s also worth revisiting your hardware or software security provisions. This may include things like staff communication devices like walkie-talkies or radios as well as things like panic buttons or other software security measures. These are an often overlooked but essential part of security measures in the healthcare industry, so it’s worth taking the time to ensure that yours are meeting your needs.

If you find that your software security solutions aren’t meeting your needs, look at Little Green Button. Our on-screen panic button software is perfect for a huge range of healthcare organisations, is easy to set up and easy to use, and helps keep buildings and staff safe, secure and supported. Find out what we can offer the healthcare industry here, or get in touch with a member of our sales team for a free demo today.