In honor of National Safety Month, Concordance Healthcare Solutions reaffirms its commitment to workplace safety to Positively Impact Lives™. We understand that safety in our workplace carries over to workplace safety in the hospitals and healthcare organizations where we deliver products. Our priority is to ensure that we distribute products to your facility in a manner that is safe for everyone: patients, healthcare workers and support staff. “Healthcare Safety in the workplace has never been more important than it is today," states Lisa Hohman, CEO. "At Concordance, we understand that providing a safe workplace environment is essential to protecting the health and wellbeing of your employees as much as it is ours.”
Linking Patient Safety and Healthcare Worker Safety
National Safety Month is a reminder to reflect on not just patient safety but also workplace safety for healthcare workers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the rate of nonfatal injury and illness for healthcare workers is among the highest of any industry. Hazards include exposure to dangerous chemicals and infectious agents, sharps injuries, latex allergies, back injuries and workplace stress and violence.
According to 2019 statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the number of total recordable cases of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in private industry healthcare and social assistance organizations came to a little over 575,000 cases. That averages to almost 4 out of every 100 full-time health or social workers reporting an injury in 2019. In general, medical and surgical hospitals, the number jumps to 5.5 workers per 100 full-time employees.
Healthcare administrators have come to realize that healthcare worker safety, patient safety and quality of care are closely connected. Studies show that management’s focus, commitment and action to improve workplace safety has a positive effect on employee perceptions of the overall safety culture of the organization. This encourages workers to follow safety protocols which leads to safer and better-quality care for patients.
Promoting Workplace Safety Culture
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) encourages healthcare organizations to promote workplace safety culture through a proactive safety and health management system created by leadership with employee input and participation. OSHA recommends the following steps for developing effective safety management:
- Identify and assess workplace hazards
- Develop hazard prevention and control measures
- Conduct safety training and education
- Monitor, evaluate and improve the safety system
Including Your Supply Chain Distributor in Workplace Safety Programs
Workplace safety is impossible without ensuring that employees have proper and adequate protective equipment and supplies, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment with active or passive safety features. For example, healthcare workers rely on their employer to provide masks, gloves and gowns to protect themselves and safety syringes to help prevent sharps injuries. The supply chain interruptions and shortages of safety equipment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the benefits of a carefully managed, efficient healthcare supply chain to keep vital supplies like these available during emergencies and periods of high demand.
As you develop, review and test your workplace safety procedures and emergency response plans, coordinate with your supply chain management company. Through its extensive network of suppliers, a healthcare distributor can source the safety equipment and supplies your organization needs—even when these products are scarce, or inventory is needed urgently. They can help you optimize your inventory, manage stockpiles, streamline your operations and create back-up plans.
Concordance Healthcare Solutions Exceeds National Workplace Safety Standards
Concordance Healthcare Solutions goes beyond OSHA workplace safety standards in its own facilities. We start by using an external consulting firm to train our new employees. After completing the initial general workplace safety introduction, employees receive focused education that varies depending on where the employee is assigned. Specialized training for each department is dedicated to safe handling of products and use of equipment.
Product safety and effectiveness is our top priority when we distribute time-sensitive or temperature-sensitive products. In addition to monitoring inventory expiration dates and special storage requirements, we also keep in close contact with manufacturers to track product recalls and find alternative products when necessary. When handling potentially hazardous materials, we confirm the products are properly packaged and prepared for shipment before the items leave our warehouse, then ensure safe delivery to your facility.
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