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Nobody gets Infected- Utilizing Construction Safety tools for Healthcare Worker Safety

Construction workers and healthcare workers face a high hazardous, tiring, and stressful conditions during the workday in often grueling conditions. Construction workers may work 10 hr days digging trenches in extreme weather i.e. 125 - 130 F degrees in Saudi, similar to conditions of the Ebola healthcare workers. Additionally, some workers are completely new to construction and safety training becomes imperative when workers are not used to wearing shoes (i.e. Papau New Guinea). Safety of our construction workforce is a value in the Oil and Gas Industry. I'd like to share some of our construction safety tools that may apply in the health care industry to make sure everybody that goes to work comes home safe.

Photo of Elaine Mau
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Below are some items that could potentially be used.

A Commitment to Safety/Building a Safety Culture
"Nobody gets Hurt"
We use a clear, simple, safety safety message to all our employees and contractors. This is instilled in all of those who work with us. It's not just priority, it's a value. We also do behavioral safety programs now. Perhaps we can do a 'branding' for Ebola training

Fire/Safety Watch
We have designated people that watch workers while doing work/make sure that people do the right thing. This is similar to how when donning on Ebola out that there is a secondary person to check. We can also do this while the person is moving around in the 'hot zone' or when working as well as when the PPE is off.

Life Saving Rules/Cardinal Rules
In construction, there are lots of activities that are hazards; somehowever, result in serious outcome like death. Some examples in the construction industry is 100% tie-off and lock out/tag out of equipement. Violating of these life saving rules means termination. What we can glean from this is that we can perhaps come up with some Life Saving Rules for Ebola, focus on use of IV or doffing and making sure everybody knows what to do in every situation.

Short Service Worker
One of the highiest risk in injury in construction are new people. We tend to build programs around training up new people, making sure there is a buddy system or identifying them by giving them an orange hard hat. Due to the weak healthcare infrastructure in Africa, there are many new nurses - no more than a day's training! - that could utilize some of tools from the Short Service Worker program.

Stop & Think/ Last Minute Risk Assessment/ Step back 5x5
A lot of construction work is routine and it's easy to get desensitize to the risk you are taking (For example, most people's most high risk activity is driving to work!, but you don't think of it as a high risk activity..). I imagine in the healthcare it is the same. Step back 5x5 program for example is a tool to assist you in identifying and controlling immediate hazards as you go about your day to day work where you step back 6 paces from the job, invest 5 minutes thinking about the job (i.e. do you have the right tools for the job, correct PPE). We also give out small cards regarding this. As healthcare workers rush to help patients, it may be good to take a step back and think about the risks they are taking everyday.

How might we utilize tools that keep construction workers safe to healthcare workers battling Ebola?

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Photo of Rainer Winkler

Give new people a yellow hat, I'll keep that in mind