News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

February 6, 2013

State, while lauding Union, launches new safety program

TERRE HAUTE — Union Hospital, which has made great strides in reducing workforce injury rates — especially those related to patient lifting — has become the first “collaborator” in a new statewide safety initiative.

On Tuesday, the Indiana Department of Labor launched a healthcare worker safety initiative, aimed at reducing the industry’s high worker injury and illness rate. The announcement took place at the Landsbaum Center.

Sean Keefer, Indiana Department of Labor commissioner, announced the initiative. Also present were Dr. William VanNess, state health commissioner and Scott Teffeteller, Union Hospital CEO.

In Indiana, the growing healthcare industry employs more than 300,000 Hoosiers, Keefer said. In recent years, there also has been an increase in the number of work-related injuries and illnesses.

According to the most recent statistics, health care has the second-highest worker injury and illness rates in the state, with 6.3 (workers) per 100 employees. That’s higher than manufacturing, at 5.2 per 100 workers, and construction, with 3.9 per 100 workers.

“Healthcare workers are 38 percent more likely than construction workers to become injured and 17 percent more likely than manufacturing workers,” Keefer said.

He also noted that at nursing and residential facilities, the worker injury and illness rate is 9.5 (workers) per 100 workers, and at hospitals, it is 7.2 per 100 workers.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Keefer said. “The rate of injury and illness must and will be addressed.”  

The Department of Labor initiative is focused on addressing the most common injuries and illnesses found in the healthcare industry, including:

• Slips, trips and falls

• Lifting and lowering patients

• Repetitive stress injuries

• Accidental needle sticks

• Exposure to blood-borne pathogens

The voluntary safety initiative will focus on information; education and training; and consultation assistance.

The Department of Labor’s OSHA consultation division, INSafe, will spearhead the educational efforts of the department. INSafe can provide training and can evaluate safety programs for their strengths and weaknesses, Keefer said. It also can go through facilities to suggest safety-related changes.

Teffeteller outlined how efforts by Union Hospital to reduce worker injury and illness over the past five years have achieved significant results:

• Workforce lifting injuries have declined 43 percent.

• Workforce falls decreased 38 percent.

• Lost worktime decreased 84 percent.

• Worker’s compensation claims have declined 42 percent.

Various changes have included ongoing education for leadership and staff; providing resources and equipment, including patient lifting devices; meeting with employees who have reported injuries or near misses to prevent the same or similar events from happening to other employees; and empowering employees to develop solutions to safety concerns.

In 2011, Union Hospital was recognized for its workplace safety programs with the Governor’s Workplace Safety Award.

“I’m happy to commit Union Hospital as the first active party in this new initiative,” Teffeteller said. He called on healthcare leaders across the state “to follow suit and make this initiative a priority in your organization.”

Improving workforce health and safety makes good financial sense because it reduces lost work time and worker compensation costs, officials said. More importantly, “Protecting your employee is the right thing to do,” Teffeteller said.

The state Department of Health, which works with healthcare facilities through licensing and quality improvement efforts, supports the initiative. Health Commissioner VanNess said it addresses a “serious issue.”

The Health Department will encourage facilities to use the new safety initiative as a tool to help them reach their goals, VanNess said.

He noted that Gov. Mike Pence “wants to attract jobs to Indiana and healthcare jobs are certainly critical to that.”

VanNess said he’s been involved with an economic development organization, and he knows firsthand that a healthy workforce is important in attracting new business.

For more information about the healthcare worker safety initiative, visit www.in.gov/dol/healthcare.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Raw: Plane Lands on New York Highway Raw: 16 Killed in Gaza Market Strike Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Harding Love Letters Now Open to Public Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit Raw: Guinea Rap Concert Stampede Kills 33+ 3 People Killed, Deputies Wounded in NC Shootout Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity