KGH Workplace Health & Safety Review
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/ExposuresWhere you may have had an unprotected exposure to a potentially infectious patient or blood/body fluids that increases your risk of acquiring an infection (e.g. tuberculosis, meningococcus, HIV), you are required to contact the OHS&W Department who will determine what follow up is required including whether post exposure prophylaxis is recommended. They will also report to the MOL/WSIB where required. Strict adherence to routine practices and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is critical in preventing potentially infectious exposures.
Should you develop an infectious illness and believe it was acquired from the workplace (e.g. Norovirus), you must notify the OHS&W Department immediately. 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).
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.
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.
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:
- See the OHS&W Department for a post exposure assessment during regular business hours (Monday through Friday 0700-1600).
- If outside of regular hours, the Emergency Department will provide the required assessment and treatment under the hospital’s Needlestick/Sharps Surveillance Program.
- Submit an injury/event online in the Safe Reporting Tool.
- Work with the program to determine the cause(s) of the needlestick and corrective measures that need to be taken to prevent recurrence.
- 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 Safety Data Sheet (SDS) 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’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS). All SDSs are online and can be accessed from the KGH Homepage. WHMIS training is required for all employees who work with hazardous materials.
Workplace Violence & Harassment PreventionUnder the Occupational Health & Safety Act, employers must have violence and harassment prevention programs in place that workers are trained on, have mechanisms in place for workers to summon immediate assistance, and conduct regular violence risk assessments. To ensure compliance with the legislation, all employees including Residents are required to complete Workplace Violence & Harassment Prevention Training. To find out more about the measures and procedures in place including options for reporting, please see the hospital’s policies on the intranet.
· Policy #12-141 Assessing, Flagging and Managing the Risk of Patient Violence
· Policy # 02-142 Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence
· Policy # 02-143 Workplace Violence Prevention;
· Policy #12-300 Workplace Harassment and Discrimination
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, “Homewood Health,” can be contacted 24 hours a day at 1-800-663-1142 or feel free to access their website at www.homewoodhealth.com
Fitness Club Membership: Corporate memberships are available at Goodlife Fitness Centre, Omega Fitness Club, and the YMCA. Registration for Goodlife Fitness is done online through the OHSW department with the option of payroll deduction. The online registration form can be accessed here from inside the KGH wellness website. To take advantage of the other corporate memberships, visit the gym and present your KGH ID to register with them.
Wellness Programs: A variety of wellness program are offered periodically throughout the year including for example, Smoking cessation, Weight Watchers at Work Program, lunchtime yoga, etc. For more information, contact the OHS&W Dept at x 4389 or visit the KGH wellness website and review the events calendar.