Executive Endings: Terri Venello, RN, director of Geriatric Mental Health Services, Community Hospital
Providing a safe, secure work environment for employees has long been a priority for Crozer-Keystone Health System. Consider that across the nation, more than two million incidents of workplace violence are reported each year. This is certainly a staggering figure, but it’s one that we believe can be tempered with education, preventive measures and the participation of every employee.
At Crozer-Keystone, we take a zero tolerance approach to workplace violence and expect our employees to understand that any claim will be addressed immediately. As part of this, we have put in place policies to promote a safe environment for our employees, as well as patients and visitors.
Education plays a key role in ensuring the safety of the work environment. On an ongoing basis we provide training opportunities that empower employees to recognize acceptable behavior, know what to do if they are subject to or observe workplace violence, and protect themselves as needed. We also teach employees how to reduce their odds of becoming a victim of workplace violence by learning how to recognize, avoid or diffuse violent situations.
From an environmental standpoint, Crozer-Keystone is helping to ensure the safety of its employees, patients and visitors through campus lighting, video surveillance, identification badges, electronic “keys,” and 24/7 security guards stationed at entrances and key locations. Additionally, access to buildings and units is controlled as needed.
Employees whose jobs require them to work in the community are provided with cell phones and are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings and not enter an area where they feel threatened.
These staff members are also reminded when working in the community to:
- Wear appropriate clothing
- Avoid carry expensive purses/bags
- Minimize the amount of jewelry worn
- Keep equipment (i.e., computers) out of view
- Keep car doors locked
- Keep their cell phones charged and available in the event of an emergency
Lastly, all employees should be familiar with the proper procedures in the event a violent episode does occur. Those individuals who would like to learn more about Crozer-Keystone’s policies and procedures related to workplace violence, or who would like to engage in an upcoming training session, should speak with their managers or a member of administration. Employees who have a safety or security concern should report it to a supervisor or security immediately.
While there’s no guarantee against workplace violence, we can certainly help to reduce the opportunity that an incident will occur or the severity of the incident by consistently employing the tools and education available to us through the Health System. In this way, we can continue to provide a safe environment for our employees and patients.
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