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What Type of Protection Should Healthcare Staff Expect in the Workplace?

Hospitals, clinics, general practices, and other medical facilities are havens for better health. Millions of Australians will seek medical care and advice every day, and trust the doctors, nurses, and healthcare staff to ensure they’re looked after fairly and properly.

Unfortunately, our dedicated healthcare workers aren’t always looked after the same way. With workplace incidents ballooning into unacceptable figures – statistics from 2014-2015 reveal that 17,565 serious claims were made with Safework Australia – it comes as no surprise that several healthcare sectors are struggling to maintain viable staffing numbers. In fact, specific disciplines of medicine, such as dental assisting, aged care, and more are reporting lower numbers of people entering the workforce. This has led to the announcement in 2018 of free TAFE courses in specific areas of healthcare.

There needs to be better protections put in place for medical staff and healthcare workers across the board, including better security plans, procedures and safeguards to minimise risks. Wilson Security discusses the types of protections healthcare staff should expect when they go to work every day.

Safe access to the building

The day begins with the trip into work, so facilities should ensure that their staff have safe and unimpeded access to the building. If there is a staff carpark it ought to be clearly marked so that patients and visitors aren’t taking up reserved spots. This means staff can start their shifts on time without rushing and aren’t walking long distances to and from their cars (especially for workers who may start or end shifts at atypical hours). For larger facilities – such as hospitals – a staff-only area should be secured with a swipe card or access code.

Safeguards against medical hazards

Healthcare workers are naïvely assumed to be immune to many of the conditions their patients present with, but staff are at constant risk of exposure to infections, disease, and other communicable conditions. They are also put-upon to conduct physical labour that can lead to injuries, such as lifting patients onto beds, assisting them to the bathrooms, or catching them if they fall. Ensuring that there are procedures in place to protect them from getting into these scenarios without the appropriate safeguards is of paramount importance.

Protection from physical and verbal assault

Healthcare facilities of all sizes can benefit from trained security officers keeping an eye out. They could be positioned in entrances, waiting rooms, or patrolling the facility. With a physical protective presence, staff will feel more comfortable going about their duties – able to focus on their jobs, instead of watching out for threats. As well as acting as a deterrent to disruptions and outbursts, security officers undergo healthcare-specific training to handle conflicts. This training should be tailored to the industry – guards at an aged care facility will follow different procedures to an inner-city emergency room or a mental health clinic.

Find out how Wilson Security keeps healthcare workers safe

Staff deserve to feel safe at work. If a workplace doesn’t offer its staff comprehensive protection for the myriad of risks they face on a daily basis, it’s okay to speak up. Wilson Security have visited many healthcare providers across Australia to conduct risk assessments, identifying potential issues that could be corrected with an updated security plan. This goes hand-in-hand with updated inhouse protocols that look out for the physical and mental wellbeing of staff. With some industries facing a shortage of staff, it’s more important than ever for workplaces to provide safe environments for healthcare workers.

To learn more about security plans, or to organise a consultation, speak to the team at Wilson Security on 1300 945 766 or email contact@wilsonsecurity.com.au.

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