In our Practice Management Nugget series, on July 31, 2014,we spoke with Dave Rodwell of D.E. Rodwell Investigative Services Ltd. on “Corporate Security – A Must for Any Organization”. Here are a few security tips for your healthcare practice.
What is the most devastating thing that could happen to your business?
Your employee is physically assaulted on the job by a stranger. A car drives through your office window. A shouting match between a patient and your employee. Internal theft of your cash box. Identifying those devastating events is the first step to prevent those events and to prepare your incident plan. Then,
- Document the plan
- Share the plan with your staff
- Practice the plan
This will help your organization to prevent incidents that could impact your business.
“Cash is a tempting target for an employee who is having financial difficulties.” Dave Rodwell
We want to be able to trust the people that we work with. We try to hire good people, but circumstances change and a plain unlocked cash box that everyone uses is a tempting target. You should have written procedures in place to limit the amount of cash in the office and controls in place to make the cash less tempting to steal.
60% of the general population may be tempted to steal if there is an opportunity and that there is a reasonable chance that they won’t get caught
20% of the general population will steal whenever they have an opportunity
Incident management and internal investigation
Every organization should have a crisis response checklist including a plan to conduct an internal investigation of an incident. This includes creating an objective report that can be presented to senior management, who makes a decision on how to respond to the incident. The investigator – internal or external to the business – needs to be perceived as objective, fair, and thorough so that the decision made by senior management is respected.
Do your staff work alone?
You might have an employee who works alone for part of their shift in your practice. Maybe employees work at the same time but at opposite ends of the office.
If an employee cannot be seen or heard by co-workers who can offer assistance, they are considered ‘working alone’.
The employer is required to conduct a hazard assessment and must establish an effective strategy to reduce the risk of harm. Most provinces have legislation that requires a business to conduct a ‘work alone assessment’. The assessment includes:
- Identify individuals who work alone
- Identify risks to individuals work alone
- Identify reasonable risk mitigation strategies to prevent harm to employees
- Provide training to the employee that safeguards the employee (make sure you document the training!)
We want to keep our employees safe from harm and are willing to take reasonable steps to protect and train the employees. If you don’t take steps to meet work alone legislative requirements and an incident occurs it could impact your insurance coverage. An investigation into the incident could find that your business ‘operated contrary to the laws of the land’ and your insurance coverage may be null and void.
Working Alone Safely handbook is available from Government of Alberta to help businesses implement work alone strategies.
Employers and employees have a responsibility to ensure a safe workplace. Get started on your incident plan by taking a risk survey. Then select one or two risk areas that you can quickly and easily prevent and develop your incident response plan.
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