The province has accepted 12 recommendations to improve safety and security in community emergency departments.
A working group tasked with finding ways to improve safety at community emergency departments presented its recommendations on, Jan. 20.
“The safety of nurses, physicians, staff, patients and families at emergency departments across the province is very important to all of us,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “I thank this group for its time and expertise. We accept these recommendations. We want to work with our partners in health care. Helping to improve workplace safety is good for all of us.”
Recommendations include:
— have the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) and unions work together on ways to reduce workplace violence
— perform risk assessments for each community emergency department to determine their safety and security needs
— offer education such as non-violent crisis intervention training to staff
— set up an NSHA-wide system to track incident and injury reports, training records and compliance reports, and provide data for future safety planning
— ensure staff can report workplace violence in multiple ways such as on paper or with a smartphone or tablet
— update emergency planning policies and ensure that staff know how to respond to incidents if and when they occur
The complete report is available here.
“Our committee of employers, unions, government and other key stakeholders is proud to present a positive strategy resulting from a very serious workplace incident,” said Janet Hazelton, president, Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union. “Violence is not part of any nurse’s or health-care worker’s job. Regardless of the situation no one should feel threatened or unsafe in their workplace. Much remains to be done, but this is an important step in the right direction.”
The NSHA will put the recommendations into place over the coming months and will report back to the province in a year’s time.
“The report builds on many of NSHA’s efforts since its creation to develop a provincial approach to workplace safety with consistent training, programs and policies,” said Carmelle d’Entremont, vice-president, people and organizational development, Nova Scotia Health Authority. “The working group is a wonderful example of collaboration to achieve a common goal. The partnerships with unions and other stakeholders will help us better address workplace violence.”
The working group consisted of:
— Nova Scotia Health Authority (co-chair)
— Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union (co-chair)
— Department of Health and Wellness
— Department of Labour and Advanced Education
— Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union
— Canadian Union of Public Employees
— Unifor
— Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia
— Paladin Security
— Cape Breton Regional Police Service.

Occupational health and safety officers are working with health-care workers in Nova Scotia to raise awareness about strain, sprain and inflammation injury prevention.  Officers visited 36 health-care facilities across the province between March and July 2016.  The goal was to engage workers in discussions about health and safety programs.  The visits were used to promote general safety compliance and awareness, while identifying areas for improvement and recognizing the efforts that are already being made. The result is a list of recommendations that are being shared with stakeholders. They will help government advance the goals laid out in its Workplace Safety Strategy.
A summary of the recommendations can be found at:

Targeted at the home care and community services sectors, we invite managers, supervisors, or other persons responsible for your organization’s handling and mobility program, to attend this education training.
These 1/2 day sessions will review the required elements for your Safe Handling and Mobility program, as well as provide you with instructions on the use of the pre-mobility check tool; PACE.
There are sessions scheduled across the province, click here to register.
For more information, contact [email protected] or 902.832.3868 ext. 104.