Improving the Culture of Safety: Workplace Safety Unit-Based Teams Interventions that Work

Abstracts from the Kaiser Permanente2018 National Quality Conference


Barbara Zelinski, MBA; Leslie Pole, MA; Samantha Imada, MA

From Southern California

Background: Injury prevention is a value of Kaiser Permanente. In analyses done by Engagement and Inclusion, the Workplace Safety (WPS) Index has shown consistent correlations with department injury rates. The higher the WPS Index, the lower the incidence of harm to patients and health care workers. In addition, the higher the WPS Index, the higher the satisfaction of patients and employees. This work will share interventions that improved the unit safety performance.
Methods: Survey of unit-based teams (UBT) interventions that improved the WPS Index and safety outcomes. Interviews with selected high-functioning UBTs that improved safety outcomes and the WPS Index to become high scoring.
Results: UBTs were provided tools to develop plans to address the four People Pulse items that comprise the Workplace Safety Index. Departments that implemented tests of change and later spread the interventions are experiencing fewer injuries and higher WPS Index scores.
Discussion: Successful UBT interventions are not complex and do not need to be resource intensive. Many of the successful interventions were changes in how staff interacted, how managers communicated, and how the team resolved differences. Interventions do not need to be uniform across all departments to be effective. Successful interventions do appear to have common characteristics. Next steps: Safety plans at the department level will incorporate relationship and organizational effectiveness as well as systems of safety to create a safer environment for patients and staff.

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