Healthcare Hot Topics – MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative: Accomplishments and Looking Forward

MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative

Healthcare Hot Topics, previously called the Leadership Corner, features updates from the MHA Keystone Center team. The updates will provide insights to trending topics related to safety and quality, as well as updates on MHA Keystone Center activities and initiatives.

Adam Novak, MA, CPPS, director of safety initiatives, MHA Keystone CenterAdam Novak, MA, CPPS, director, safety initiatives, MHA Keystone Center, reviews recent MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative events and provides insight on the collaborative moving forward.

In March 2019, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) formally embarked on a journey to bring healthcare organizations, subject matter experts and industry leaders together to better understand and address harm to healthcare staff through its Workplace Safety Collaborative.

Since the collaborative began, 55 hospitals submitted their Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) data into the MHA’s data reporting platform, KeyMetrics, allowing the MHA to examine specific harm types and customize educational offerings.

Staff harm in healthcare spans a wide range of incident types and is most associated with workplace violence; sharps; safe patient handling; and slips, trips and falls. The MHA held four foundational in-person and virtual workshops focusing on these topic areas for participants to learn successful methods for implementing harm-reduction programs and strategies.

The safe patient handling workshop concentrated on musculoskeletal disorders and featured presentations on incorporating safety culture principles, the importance of early mobility for patient and staff safety, proper lift equipment uses and building sustainability into an organizational program. The day ended with a panel discussion and served to springboard the collaborative into a six-part coaching webinar series focused on musculoskeletal disorders and safe patient handling. This series was led by Margaret Arnold, CEO,, and covered subtopics such as patient handling amid COVID-19, using different types of lift equipment and an overview of various lifting techniques.

The violence-reduction workshop featured discussions on strategies to establish a culture of zero-tolerance for violence against healthcare staff. Other topics included responding to and debriefing events regarding agitated patients and designing a tailored workplace violence prevention program.

The sharps-reduction virtual workshop provided overviews of the workplace safety data dashboard in KeyMetrics and successful sharps-reduction programs within MHA-member hospitals. Finally, the virtual workshop addressing slips, trips and falls focused on staff-awareness campaigns, examining workers’ compensation, MHA-member-submitted OSHA data, and key elements to a meaningful reduction program for slips, trips and falls.

With the foundational pieces of the MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative in place, efforts now shift to an in-depth focus on addressing violence in healthcare through virtual training, formal didactic education and peer-driven content. The MHA is also exploring the feasibility of providing resources for addressing staff safety and COVID-19 with an emphasis on clinician burnout.

Though addressing violence in healthcare will be a priority in the coming program year, the MHA’s sustainability efforts will continue for safe patient handling; sharps injuries; and slips, trips and falls. The success of the MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative hinges on the quantity and quality of OSHA data that members submit into KeyMetrics, which allows them to understand how and where to allocate crucial resources. Through members’ leadership and engagement in this effort, the MHA is confident that real, measurable change will continue and that all staff in healthcare will return home in the same condition, if not better, than when they arrived at work. 

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