Health Region Joins Mission: Zero

Health Region Joins Mission: Zero Health & Wellness SouthWest Saskatchewan  Cypress Health Region   Beth Vachon and Jeff Schwan sign the agreement

The Cypress Health Region has officially endorsed the Mission: Zero Partnership Agreement developed by WorkSafe Saskatchewan.

The agreement emphasizes a common goal by which organizations reduce the number of work-related injuries and illnesses within the province.

{mp3}worksafe{/mp3}Interview with Beth Vachon and Jeff Schwan”Other industries have done a really good job of changing the culture of how their staff work,” said Health Region CEO Beth Vachon. “I think we still have a ways to go for our staff to always be thinking about safety as the #1 thing at the forefront all the time in everything that they do.”

The ambitious goal of the agreement is to get work-related injuries down to zero in five years. That would compare to 60 lost-time claims in 2011-12 among the 1700 staff in the region. Those claims cost the Cypress Health Region approximately $1.6 million.

“It’s not OK to ever have a shoulder injury or a back injury,” Vachon said. “In the past that’s sort of been a given. That was always the burden of a nurse that you risked a back injury that could take you right out of your career. I don’t think that’s acceptable.”

The Cypress Health Region has been working to improve their record after being on a list of 50 employers in the province with weaker records on work-related injuries. Health care professionals often struggle with prevention because care aids and nurses have to do a lot of physical work with patients who at times have very limited mobility. That can cause many shoulder, back and neck problems.

“The training is the biggest aspect,” said Cypress Health Region Director of Occupational and Public Health Jeff Schwan. “There also is that follow up to make sure they’re doing those properly.”

“Without our staff working safely our patients aren’t safe.”

Schwan added that their commitment to safety has been a long standing priority.

“The involvement of our staff in Occupational Health and Safety Committees is one of those essential ways that they help to identify proactive approaches to safety. Participation in the Accreditation Canada program is a great opportunity to assess our region’s preparedness against national safety standards in many areas affecting staff and patients.”

Some examples of the region’s efforts to focus on safety include the purchase of safe lifting mechanisms to reduce the burden on staff members’ backs; provision of ongoing training and education to its staff in areas such as ‘transferring/lifting/repositioning’ (TLR); participation in national awareness weeks such as ‘National STOP Clean Your Hands Day’ which emphasize the importance of hand hygiene; and, ongoing attention to the  provincially legislated Occupational Health and Safety Act and Public Health Act.

The region also often offers six week health challenges to their staff to encourage the development of good habits.

Copies of the signed agreement will be prominently displayed in all of the region’s facilities and offices to serve as a reminder of the commitment to injury and illness prevention.

via Local News http://www.swiftcurrentonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=22260:health-region-jois-mission-zero&catid=13:local-news&Itemid=355

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