Human Resources – Physical injuries

Poor ergonomics, improper handling of sharps, manual handling of heavy loads, misuse or failure of equipment, inadequate safety training, and failure to comply with safety regulations can lead to physical injuries in the workplace. Additionally, these injuries can result in increased absenteeism, reduced staff engagement, increased staff turnover, and can negatively impact patient care. Eliminating preventable harm to staff is a top strategic priority in healthcare and part of everyone’s job. This document contains information entered by HIROC subscriber organizations (acute and non-acute) in the Risk Register application to help you in your assessment of this risk.

Ranking/ratings 

  • Likelihood – 3.03
  • Impact – 3.08

The Risk Register allows for risks to be assessed on a five-point likelihood and impact scale, with five being the highest.

Key controls/mitigation strategies

  • Policies/procedures/protocols
    • Workplace violence 
    • Workplace wellness 
    • Immunization, surveillance and reporting infectious diseases 
    • Substance abuse 
    • Safety in the community 
    • Safe work procedures
    • Return to Work 
    • Working alone 
    • Confined space
    • Emergency codes (e.g. Code Silver, Code White, Code Purple)
    • Incident, injury, hazard reporting and investigation
      • Just culture/reporting culture
  • Occupational Health and Safety (OHAS) 
    • Compliance with Occupational Health and Safety Act
    • Annual review of health and safety policies and procedures
    • Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSC) for all sites
    • Workplace Safety Council comprised of JHSC co-chairs, Union Executives, and Management
    • Workplace Violence Awareness and Prevention Committee 
    • Workplace injury response kit 
    • Health and Safety representatives
    • Timely reporting, investigation and documentation of all incidents, injuries, hazards
    • Formal process to monitor reports completion and follow-up, as well as the implementation of the recommendations/corrective actions
    • Sharing relevant lessons learned from investigations in a meaningful way 
    • Monthly workplace inspections for all locations 
    • Communicate to employees the annual work hazard assessments and identified controls
    • Develop and implement Quality Education Plan based on job hazards
    • Participate in Safety Group Programs
    • Reinvestment of New Experimental Experience Rating (NEER) rebates into injury prevention programs 
  • Environmental
    • Lock out tag out safety procedure to ensure damaged/faulty equipment is properly shut off and not able to be started up again prior to the completion of maintenance or repair work
    • Security cameras, secure doors, secure zones, secure rooms
    • Security risk assessment of the building(s)
    • Personal safety alarms on specific units
    • Mandatory personnel identification badges
    • Workplace assessments
    • Ergonomic assessments 
    • Purchase/stock ergonomic supplies (e.g. keyboard trays, head sets, chairs)
    • Physical demands analysis descriptions for all jobs
    • Pre-visit assessment of a client and home 
  • Education/training
    • Health and safety awareness  
    • Incident reporting and investigation
    • Non-violent crisis intervention
    • Crisis prevention management  
    • Gentle persuasive approach 
    • Conflict de-escalation/resolution training (e.g. Crucial conversations) 
    • Safe patient handling
    • Competent supervisor
    • Worker awareness 
    • Emergency codes 
    • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
    • Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) Safety
    • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    • Ladder safety, table saw safety, welding safety, use of ceiling lifts, working at heights

Monitoring/indicators

  • Monthly workplace injury reports to JHSC and subcommittees, Leadership Team, Nursing Leadership
  • Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) metric: number of workplace violence incidents
  • Staff incident data analysis and trending over time
  • Ongoing review of incident trends and initiation of programs to proactively mitigate and reduce incidents
  • Analysis of preventable staff injuries 
  • Lost time reportable injuries (frequency/severity)
  • Return to work rate 
  • Monitor status of WSIB claims by regular review of cost statements and ongoing communication with Finance on predictable costs
  • Number of workplace inspections conducted/month
  • Number of JOHSC meetings held/year
  • Education/training (% completion)
  • Annual review of health and safety policies (% completion) 
  • Employee Engagement Survey
  • N95 Respiratory Protection compliance rates 
  • Number of ergonomic assessments completed 
  • Wellness scorecard to track and trend workplace wellness data (e.g. Short Term Disability, Employee Assistance Program, benefits usage, Return to Work)