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Staff safety remains a top priority at BWFH

At Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, the Workplace Safety Committee and the Brigham Family Workplace Safety and Violence Prevention Committee, together with the Police, Security, Safety and Parking Department, are charged with mitigating the risk of potential violence to our colleagues. It is the goal of these committees to help our staff feel safe at work and provide education on what to do should a security situation arise.

There are robust safety options across the Brigham family to assess and mitigate threats of workplace violence and support staff who may encounter workplace violence.

Safety and Security reporting in RL Solutions

According to a study done by The Joint Commission (TJC) in 2018, healthcare workers are at least five times more likely to be victims of workplace violence than those in other professions. TJC uses the term “at least” because it is well known that many violence events do not get reported.

“Every violence event, whether it results in an injury or not, provides key information so that leadership can make thoughtful decisions about where resources are needed most,” explains Director of Risk Management and Brigham Family Workplace Safety and Violence Prevention Committee Co-Chair Beth Uhl-Israel, MBA, CPHRM, CPHQ. “De-identified event data is shared with the Massachusetts Hospital Association, a group that advises our lawmakers on changes needed for healthcare workers. Data from the safety reporting system is also presented to board-level committees.”

Reporting is simple, just log onto RL Solutions and select the Safety and Security icon.

De-Escalation Training Program

De-Escalation Training, provided by the Department of Police, Security, Safety and Parking, Nursing Professional Development and the Department of Education, is designed to help staff maintain their own safety through verbal de-escalation and physical restraint skills. These classes, offered as both an all-day initial training session and a half-day recertification training session, are offered virtually on a regular basis and are taught by experts trained in the AVADE method.

“De-Escalation Training is one of several resources in our workplace safety tool kit that staff can utilize to maintain their safety as well as the safety of others. It teaches staff how to communicate with the patient in a non-threatening and respectful approach,” explains 6 North Nurse Director and Workplace Safety Committee Co-Chair Suzelle Saint-Eloi, MS, RN. “The training also includes components related to trauma-informed care and hands-on demonstration such as safe application of restraints and maintaining physical safety.”

If you’re interested in signing up for De-Escalation Training, either initial training or recertification, visit BWFHconnect.

S.A.F.E. Response Program

S.A.F.E. stands for: Spot a threat, Assess the risk, Formulate a safe clinical response and Evaluate the outcome). S.A.F.E. is an effort to support workplace safety in the hospital’s inpatient medical, surgical and ICU units. If you call a S.A.F.E. response by dialing 600, it brings the nursing supervisor and the security supervisor to the unit to huddle with the team and plan interventions for patients whose behavior is escalating.

The goal for the S.A.F.E. response is to bring the right group of people to the unit to quickly begin working toward a solution to keep both the patient and the caregiver safe.

The S.A.F.E. response is outlined in the Workplace Safety and Violence Prevention Policy.

Armed Intruder Response Plan

An armed intruder situation is when an individual with a weapon, such as a gun or knife, enters a building or facility with the intention to hurt and/or kill others.

To ensure that all staff are prepared for the potential of an armed intruder event, there is a training video on HealthStream that you can access by searching BWFH Armed Intruder Training in the HealthStream catalog, as well as an Armed Intruder Emergency Response Plan Policy available in the hospital’s Emergency Preparedness Manual.

To ensure that you are notified of life-threatening situations, such as armed intruder incidents, staff are strongly encouraged to register for the hospital’s Employee Alert System (EAS). You can register your personal device by logging in to My Profile dropping down My Profile Information and selecting Update Employee Alert System. For questions regarding EAS, email

Mass General Brigham Patient/Family/Visitor/Research Participant Code of Conduct Policy

The enterprise-wide Patient/Family/Visitor/Research Participant Code of Conduct Policy was developed to help maintain a safe, inclusive and caring environment for all community members across Mass General Brigham. The policy helps to define appropriate behaviors for patients, family members, visitors and research participants and also provides a model for workforce members to respond to disrespectful, discriminatory, hostile or harassing behaviors.

Click here to view a short video summarizing the policy.

Risk Assessments

Every two years, the Police, Security, Safety and Parking Department conducts risks assessments across the hospital. If you would like the department to conduct a risk assessment in your area, contact Senior Director of Public Safety and Support Services and Workplace Safety Committee Co-Chair Terrance Lassiter.

Panic Alarms

Panic alarms are located across the hospital to allow staff to quickly notify Security in the event of an instance of workplace violence. If you would like a panic alarm installed in your area, hard wired or on your desktop, contact Senior Director of Public Safety and Support Services and Workplace Safety Committee Co-Chair Terrance Lassiter.

Emergency Medicine Antiracism, Trauma-Informed De-Escalation Training Program

On both the BWFH and Brigham and Women’s Hospital campuses, the Antiracism, Trauma-Informed (ART) De-Escalation Training Program is available to Emergency Medicine team members. The interdisciplinary, simulation-based de-escalation training program trains staff in a team-based approach to assessing and addressing an acutely agitated patient in the Emergency Department while ensuring that they are providing trauma-informed care and reducing implicit/explicit bias.

“Across the Brigham family, we have trained more than 200 ED staff including physicians, nurses, support staff, security officers and psychiatrists,” says Dana Im, MD, MPP, MPhil, Director of Quality and Safety and Director of Behavioral Health for the Department of Emergency Medicine. “These sessions are held in small groups with just 6 to 8 staff members at a time to allow for role play and incorporate two ED-based cases with standardized patients.”

Emergency Department staff can register for ART training at the ED Command Central. Emergency Department attendings and APPs can sign up online.

Employee Assistance Program

Mass General Brigham’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers free and confidential services for employees, physicians, professional staff and IHP students. The program empowers employees to solve life problems and promotes work satisfaction and well-being through consultation, support and education.

“We often refer employees to reach out to EAP, especially after witnessing or being victim to workplace violence,” says Director of Occupational Health Services Jessica Kearns, MSN, MHA, RN. “These moments can be stressful and emotionally draining for those involved. Our EAP representatives are in house and readily available to meet the needs of those within BWFH.”

To learn more about the EAP, visit the website or call 1-866-724-4327.

Published 11/23/22

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