Safe + Sound Week

PUBLISHED: Aug 12, 2019
Relevant to: All Healthcare Organizations

Safe + Sound Week is a nationwide event held each August that recognizes the successes of workplace safety and health programs and offers information and ideas on how to keep America's workers safe. Successful safety and health programs can proactively identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness, improving sustainability and the bottom line.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other partner organizations use this awareness week to highlight and recognize organizational commitment to safety and to help raise awareness about workers’ health and safety.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of worker deaths and reported injuries in the United States has decreased by more than 60 percent in the past four decades since the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act was passed. However, every year, more than 5,000 workers are killed on the job (a rate of 14 per day), and more than 3.6 million suffer a serious job-related injury or illness. Safety and health programs help organizations:

  • Prevent workplace injuries and illnesses
  • Improve compliance with laws and regulations
  • Reduce costs, including significant reductions in workers' compensation premiums
  • Engage workers
  • Enhance social responsibility goals
  • Increase productivity and enhance overall business operations

OSHA reports that hospitals are one of the most hazardous places to work. In 2011, U.S. hospitals recorded 253,700 work-related injuries and illnesses, a rate of 6.8 work-related injuries and illnesses for every 100 full-time employees. This is almost twice the rate for private industry as a whole. At its core, safety is a leadership issue. When leaders are sincerely committed to worker safety, and that is supported by actions, workers know that safety and health are important to organizational culture. In health care organizations, safety takes on a new level of importance, because leaders must ensure that both workers and patients are kept safe. OSHA has identified six elements of a comprehensive safety and health management system:

  • Leadership engagement
  • Employee participation
  • Hazard identification and assessment
  • Hazard prevention and control
  • Education and training
  • System evaluation and improvement

Safe + Sound Week is a great time to review processes and policies related to the development, cultivation and maintenance of a safe workplace. Included with today’s notice are several example policies that should be a part of your comprehensive safety and health management system.

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