Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Letter of the Day | Put safety on front burner

Published:Saturday | April 1, 2017 | 4:00 AM

Regrettably, another member of the health-care team has been attacked, and this time seriously injured by the action of a parent. No doubt, this valued member, severely affected by collective irresponsible behaviour, will have to redouble her efforts to continue on the progressive path she started.

Like many other cases, there has been much attention given and measures put in place, but the sustainability of these solutions is always questionable.

The country awaits the passage of the Jamaica Occupational Safety and Health Act (JOSHA) to, in a fulsome way, give clear direction to the responsibilities of Government, management and workers in ensuring that work spaces are environmentally safe and physical structures are sound.

Safe occupational environments dictate the use of shatter-proof, tempered glass in customer-service spaces, among other precautions.This incident highlights yet another breach of safe working environments and yet another in the health-services arena.

Security remains a challenge in customer-service areas. In the health services, the dynamics are even more intense. There is already the feeling of anxiety and fear of the unknown, and relatives sometimes unconsciously overreact when long waiting lines and lack of clear communication are realised.

 

ANTICIPATORY APPROACH

 

Strategic management requires an anticipatory approach and the implementation of preventative strategies to counter potential threats. Our health-services managers need to be trained in areas of risk analysis and assessment, workplace safety, and operations work-flow management, which would perhaps reduce waiting hours and enhance communication, resulting in the improvement of client satisfaction levels.

Coarseness is exhibited in the restaurants, on the roads, in our schools, in our hospitals - just about everywhere. It has no geographical boundary and stems from what seems to be a highly contagious epidemic of indifference and force.

We need to change our way of thinking and improve our relationships with one another, taking the encouragement from the Good Book. Live peaceably with all men.

There has to be responsible behaviour on the part of the many players to ensure occupational health and safety in our public and private health spaces. Let us accelerate the implementation of the JOSHA to protect workers from unsafe environments and provide the necessary information required to create increased awareness regarding workplace safety.

Managers need to be specifically trained in occupational safety and health to be able to appreciate the importance of safe environments and its impact on productivity and customer service. This will ensure a proactive approach to the management of the facilities and an anticipatory preventative strategy to potential incidents and accidents within their organisations.

As a people of a beloved country, we must see the value of our fellow citizens and proceed to live respectfully.

GREG-LOUIS AUSTIN

Head, School of Allied Health and

Wellness

College of Health, Sciences

University of Technology, Jamaica