MARCH 2012

Erik Eggins

Weekly Safety Tips Help Maintain an Environment of Care

Ever since the Environment of Care Committee began issuing weekly safety tips two years ago, employees throughout UCLA Health System have consistently scored higher on semi-annual surveys testing their knowledge of safety standards.

“One of the goals we had in putting out the weekly safety tips was to improve staff education in safety,” says Erik Eggins, director of the UCLA Health System Safety Department and chair of the Environment of Care Committee. “It appears to be working because the percentage of staffers who know the
correct safety standards has trended upward.”

The safety tips, which are circulated every Monday morning, have covered a wide range of topics, from what to do in case of fire to how to sit properly at a computer. Managers are asked to spend a few minutes during their department huddles and staff meetings discussing the message, which is usually delivered in a simple, easy-to-read handout.

“We look at any safety-related issue that may arise and try to mitigate any risk,” Eggins says. “The point of these messages is to increase our ‘Culture of Safety’ throughout the Health System.”

The Environment of Care Committee, which includes representatives from safety, security, clinical engineering, health system facilities, nursing, infection control, risk management, licensing and accreditation, meets monthly to discuss a variety of safety topics that include possible topics for the weekly messages. The tips focus on employee and visitor safety such as avoiding tripping hazards, cleaning up spills, maintaining a smoke-free environment, pedestrian safety and duck-and-cover instructions in case of earthquake.

The Health System senior management team champions the weekly messages and wants everyone to feel empowered to bring hazards to the attention of their supervisors, the safety department and senior leaders, Eggins says.

“Everyone has a role and responsibility for safety,” Eggins says. “We want everyone to take pride in maintaining a safe environment.”