KGH Workplace Health & Safety Review


Pre-placement Screening 

Prior to undertaking your duties at Kingston General hospital, you are required to provide the Occupational Health, Safety & Wellness Department with proof of recent TB testing, immunity to measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, and your immune status to Hepatitis B. Proof of a respirator (N95) fit test in the previous 2 years is also required. You will be notified if you have not met all pre-placement screening requirements and can make arrangements with you to have this completed.   

 

Policy on the Reporting Febrile/Potentially Infectious Illness  

It is imperative that we protect both our patients and one another. If you are ill with a febrile or potentially infectious respiratory or gastrointestinal illness, you SHOULD NOT report to work and must contact the OHS&W Department immediately. Informing the department of such symptoms allows the department to identify potential outbreaks that could affect our staff and patients.

 

Short Term Sick Leave 

Kingston General Hospital is committed to supporting you during your medical absence.  Through early intervention and active case management, KGH’s Disability Management Program is aimed at promoting employee recovery and successful return to work.  Should you become totally disabled and are unable to work, you may qualify for short term disability (STD) benefits.  To qualify for STD benefits, the employee must provide Occupational Health, Safety & Wellness with a completed “Attending Practitioner’s Statement (APS) supporting total disability. An APS is required for all absences lasting 4 or more consecutive shifts.  

 

Occupational Illness/Exposures  

If you believe your illness has been acquired from the workplace (e.g. Norovirus), you must notify the OHS&W Department immediately and submit an event in the Safe Reporting Tool (see below). This is important since occupational illnesses are reportable to the Ministry of Labour (MOL). If you are unable to work or you seek health care treatment related to a workplace illness, the OHS&W Department will need to report your illness within 72 hours to the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB).  

It is also a requirement under the Occupational Health & Safety Act to report “high risk exposures” to the MOL.  While adherence to Routine practices and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are designed to prevent potentially infectious exposures, in the event of an unprotected exposure (ie. TB, meningococcus), immediately contact the OH&S Department.  The OHS&W Department will determine if post exposure prophylaxis is required and will report to the MOL/WSIB as required.  

 

Workplace Injury/Event Reporting

It is important that hazardous situations along with all workplace injuries (including needle stick injuries), be reported and that Employee Incident Reporting protocols be followed. Hazard reporting is important from an injury prevention perspective while incident reporting ensures the employer exercised due diligence by identifying and eliminating the root causes(s) of injuries. It is a requirement under Occupational Health & Safety legislation that employees report hazards and injuries to their employer. The Safe Reporting Tool is KGH’s on-line incident/injury reporting system and can be accessed from a KGH computer. Should you require assistance with submitting an event/incident, contact the OHS&W Department.  

 

Workplace Safety  

It is the expectation that all staff do their part in making KGH a safe place to work. This includes for example, reporting and correcting hazards, following safe work practices and hospital policies, and using equipment designed to protect worker health & safety as it is intended (e.g. using and activating safety needles, donning appropriate Personal Protective Equipment to prevent exposure). KGH health & safety policies can be found on the KGH intranet in section 02 of the Administrative Policy Manual.  For more information on worker and employer obligations under the Occupational Health & Safety Act and its Regulations, visit the Ministry of Labour website at http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/

You will also find a copy of the Occupational Health & Safety Act and its Regulations on one of the three Employee Health & Safety Boards (Kidd 0 near cafeteria, Connell 1 near tuck shop, and Watkins 1) along with monthly Joint Health & Safety Committee (JHSC) minutes.

Safe Footwear

It is the responsibility of all staff to wear safe and appropriate footwear in compliance with the provisions of this KGH policy, and to maintain footwear in good condition.  Footwear should be in good repair, fit well and be comfortable, and be of sturdy construction with a maximum heel height of 2½.” Flips flops are not permitted. For staff working in patient care areas, the toe area must be fully enclosed, heel must be enclosed or provide for a support strap, and footwear must be slip resistant and have a low heel height. Crocs are only permitted if worn with a heel strap and have no holes and/or vents on top or around the toe box

Needle Safety Legislation

The Safety Needle Regulation requires us to use safety engineered hollow bore needles in all situations unless doing so would present increased harm to the staff member and/or to the patient. With the majority of needles stick injuries occurring just prior to disposal of the sharp, the majority of needles are now designed with an attached safety guard that is activated immediately after use.  Tampering with/removing the guard, as well as failing to activate the safety mechanism, are contraventions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.  Please feel free to contact the Program Manager of your work area(s) or the OHS&W Department should you have any questions or concerns about safety engineered needles. In the rare situation where a suitable safety engineered needle is not available on the market or cannot be safely used for a specific procedure, there is a process in place to apply for an exemption. For further information on the exemption process and safety needle requirements, please refer to the Administrative Policy Manual, Policy 02-081 Selection, Use, and Disposal of Safety Engineered Medical Sharps (SEMS).

Should you sustain a needlestick injury, the following protocol should be followed:

 

  1. See the OHS&W Department for a post exposure assessment during regular business hours (Monday through Friday 0700-1600).
  2. If outside of regular hours, the Emergency Department will provide the required assessment and treatment under the hospital’s Needlestick/Sharps Surveillance Program.
  3. Submit an injury/event online in the Safe Reporting Tool.
  4. Work with the program to determine the cause(s) of the needlestick and corrective measures that need to be taken to prevent recurrence.
  5. Follow up with OHS&W at regular intervals as requested for further bloodwork and/or assessment.     

 

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS): 

The WHMIS regulation under the Occupational Health & Safety Act is designed to provide all workers with information about the safe use of hazardous materials found in the workplace. If working with a hazardous material/chemical, be familiar with its Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) including how the chemical is stored, handled, and disposed of, what personal protective equipment (PPE) is required, and in the event of exposure, the first aid measures that are appropriate. All of this information can be found on the product MSDS. All MSDSs are organized by department/unit in an electronic database called “Wellnet.” Wellnet can be accessed directly from the KGH Homepage by clicking on Material Safety Datasheets under Quick Links. Initial and annual WHMIS training is required for all employees who work with hazardous materials; this as well as other employee safety training can be accessed from the KGH homepage under the Staff Training quick link.      

Workplace Violence & Harassment Prevention: New Legislation

As of June 15, 2010, the Occupational Health & Safety Act will be amended (Bill 168) to include specific employer responsibilities with regard to violence, harassment, and intimate partner/domestic violence in the workplace. Key aspects of the amendments include requirements for the hospital to: determine the risk of violence through a risk assessment, implement violence and harassment policies & procedures including procedures for investigating incidents and ensure all workers are aware of them, inform workers of individuals with a known history of violence if the worker is likely to encounter the individual and there is a risk of physical injury to the worker, and take steps to ensure the safety of a worker in cases where the employer is aware of or “ought reasonably” to be aware of cases of intimate partner/domestic violence. 

To ensure compliance with the legislation, all employees including Residents are required to complete Workplace Violence & Harassment Prevention Training that is available on line on the KGH homepage under the Staff Training quick link. For more information on KGH’s policies and procedures, please see Policy 02- 143 Workplace Violence Prevention and Policy 12-300 Workplace Anti-Harassment and Discrimination in the KGH Administrative Policy Manual.    

 

Health & Wellness Services:

Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP): This confidential, anonymous, and comprehensive program is available to you and your immediate family at no cost to you. Our EFAP provides a full suite of services including counseling, health management services, and work life services such as legal advice, career counseling, and elder/childcare service. Our provider, “Human Solutions,” can be contacted 24 hours a day at 1-800-663-1142 or feel free to access their website at www.humansolutions.ca

Fitness Club Membership: Corporate memberships are available at Goodlife Fitness Centre, Premier Fitness, and Queens. Registration for Goodlife Fitness is done through OHS&W Department with the ability for payroll deduction. To obtain a membership at Premier Fitness or Queen's, visit them directly and present your KGH ID. 

Wellness Programs: A variety of wellness program are offered periodically throughout the year including for example, Smoking cessation, Weight Watchers at Work Program, and the Public Health Units Motive8 healthy lifestyle program. For more information, contact the OHS&W Dept at x 4389.

Influenza Vaccine: It is the expectation that all health care providers receive the vaccine annually unless contraindicated.  The OHS&W Department typically begins the Flu Immunization campaign in October of each year.