Do you treat worker injuries like patient injuries?
When trying to explain why hospitals should pay as much attention to worker injuries as to patient injuries, Scott Harris, PhD, MSPH, director of EHS Advisory Services for Underwriters Laboratories Workplace Health and Safety, a consulting group based in Franklin, TN, has a favorite question to ask hospital administrators.
He starts by asking if it is a big deal in their facilities for a patient to fall on the floor. Unanimously the administrators roll their eyes and exclaim about all the investigations that must follow, the paperwork to be completed, reports to be made, and the prevention efforts to undertake. Oh yes, they say, it's a big deal.
But what happens when a nurse falls?
"The room gets quiet and they say, well, it's not really the same, that's a different situation," Harris says. "But it's really the same thing. No one should be hitting the floor. Even from a purely financial and legal perspective, even if you take out the human side of caring for your employees' well-being, it should be a very big deal to you when a nurse falls, just the same as when a patient falls."