[MCOH-EH] Employee Safety
Douglas.Wendland at slhduluth.com
Tue Nov 9 08:27:38 PST 2021
Good morning Charlie.
I come from a background in manufacturing as well as healthcare. In the manufacturing sector safety was closely linked with occupational health, HR and operations. In my current organization, health care, we developed a more integrated system between 2004 and 2009. Safety, Infection control and occupational health became very coordinated and had a combined focus on patient and employee health and safety. Our philosophy was that patient and employee health and safety could not be separated. The reporting structure was not integrated, so the success was due to good working relationships and not organization.
Unfortunately, after 2014 there were staff changes in administration, safety and infection control. The previous silos reformed and we are pretty much back to the way things were 15 years ago. I think that we would have managed the current pandemic much better with a more integrated system.
We have a system wide safety officer who is overstretched and weak in influence. 1 safety office for a regional health system with 3,000 employees is not sufficient to address emerging issues and manage regulatory requirements. Consequently, being proactive has not been accomplished.
I think that our change in accrediting agency has also had an influence. We switched from the Joint Commission to DNV. Previously, occupational health was always part of interviews that involved patient safety and infection control. With our DNV survey last week we were not involved in any interview, despite being centrally involved in the current pandemic response, and longstanding success in our safe patient handling program. If the accrediting agencies lack interest in a holistic approach to health and safety, it is hard to see where the motivation for sustained improvement will come.
Douglas M Wendland, MD, MPH
St. Luke's Occupational Medicine
From: MCOH-EH <mcoh-eh-bounces at mylist.net> On Behalf Of Charles Hackett
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2021 10:15 AM
To: MCOH/EH <mcoh-eh at mylist.net>
Subject: [MCOH-EH] Employee Safety
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In my previous occupational health work outside of health care each organization had a very strong employee health team.
Often the safety group reported into operations and wre at a high level with the hierarchy.
My present organization is mostly focused on patient safety as it should be but we are trying to push to enhance a focus on employee safety.
We have no system-wide employee safety officer.
Do you have a dedicated employee safety organization?
How is it structured and where does it report?
What is its relationship with EOHS?
Charles D Hackett, MD, MPH
Medical Director, Employee and Occupational Health, Lifespan
Chief Community and Family Medicine, Rhode Island Hospital
Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Brown University
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