The run chart below shows the monthly number of injuries reported to employee health.
In fiscal year 2013, which ended on June 30th, we had 327 injuries. That number is an improvement of 12% from fiscal 2012’s 370 injuries. We have set a goal of no more than 294 injuries in fiscal 14, a further 10% reduction. Our Senior Executive Team receives a daily report of the number of employee injuries in the preceding 24 hours and measures this on our Lean Daily Management board. We are driving toward a goal of zero injuries.
The injuries can be grouped into a number of large categories. The most dangerous of the injury groups is the needle stick/body fluid splash category. Being injected with hepatitis C or HIV contaminated blood can lead to a lifetime of therapy and/or long term morbidity. These injuries can be prevented by using the appropriate safety devices like needle-less systems, needles with protective sheaths and protective eyewear. A respiratory therapist was recently exposed when the therapist did not use protective eyewear when inducing cough in a patient.
System design is also important. Standard work in the passing of sharps in the operating room is critical to reducing needle stick injuries. Recently, a resident physician stuck himself with a contaminated needle because he used his fingers rather than pickups to reposition a needle on a needle driver.
Another category of injury among workers at GBMC is sprains and strains, usually from lifting. With the national epidemic of obesity, it is very important that we use the appropriate lifting devices to avoid musculoskeletal injuries. Slips and falls is a category of injury that usually occurs from spills that go unnoticed or from workplace clutter. An employee recently fell after tripping on an exposed electrical wire. Our IT Team has recently been doing environmental rounds to make sure that computer and printer electrical cords are not creating tripping hazards on our units.
Our last major category of injuries is those due to workplace violence. We have made some progress in this area by implementing training for employees in high risk areas like the Emergency Department and also by stationing a security guard on Unit 36. There are other injuries that don’t fit into common categories like the employee who was recently harmed when a swinging door came off its hinge.
So what can we do to drive towards zero workplace injuries? First, we can make sure that we are following safe practices and using protective devices when appropriate. Secondly, we can report all injuries and participate in the learning from injuries to make our systems even safer. Thanks very much for sharing your ideas on how we can reduce employee injuries in the GBMC HealthCare system.