One major problem many organizations face is the occurrence of accidents involving trips, falls, and slips of employees. A rise in the injury rates is due to the lack of relevant and essential safety measures to ensure safety in the workplace. The study seeks to determine the presence and effectiveness of safety measures in reducing accidents at the nursing home workplace. It focuses on the occurrence of accidents among employees at one nursing home. The study examines the causes of slips, trips and falls (STF) accidents, the effectiveness of existing safety measures, and improvements that can occur.
Many medical institutions such as nursing homes experience an increase in lost workday rates due to the lack of proper safety programs and policies for preventing workplace injuries. Leaders of the institutions should commit to the protection of employees through effective safety programs, hazard control, workplace inspection, and safety training. Working in the direct-care facilities such as nursing homes requires the employees to perform physically taxing activities such as moving residents, and lifting heavy loads. The lack of proper safety policies and practices increases the occurrence of accidents (Trinkoff, Johantgen, Montaner, & Lee, 2005).
According to Bell et al. (2012), nursing home employees experience a wide range of accidents. Most of the accidents involve slips, trips, and falls. Data acquired from six nursing homes in the period of 1996-2003 revealed the occurrence of 86 workers’ compensation claims involving STF accidents. The data depicted a significant increase in accidents over the eight-year period. Most of the accidents resulted from hazards that can be prevented such as loose cords along hallways and wet floors. The implementation of effective safety programs is necessary because workplace accidents have several consequences (HSE, 2005). Over 30% of STF accidents result in the workers’ absenteeism for over a month (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015). The injuries have an average cost of $22,800 per accident. It increases the costs for the management through funding of the replacement staff’s salary, direct injury costs, and salary of the injured employee. The compensation claim for STF accidents is an average of $19,000.
The dominion theory postulates that accidents majorly result from people’s actions. The theory developed by Heinrich W. H. states that 88% of accidents result from people’s unsafe actions. 10% of the accidents result from unsafe actions, whereas, only 2% result from acts of God (Raouf, 2011). The theory shows that people’s actions can be altered to reduce the occurrence of accidents. It supports the view of Atlas that slips, trips, and falls result from careless behavior and bad design in the work environment (2012). According to Heinrich, the five-factor sequence includes:
Social environment and ancestry
A combination of unsafe actions with physical and mechanical hazards
Injuries or damage
The development of a safety program that interrupts the sequence can prevent the occurrence of accidents. For instance, the third factor can be eliminated through the adoption of effective safety practices within the nursing home. The theory can help in ensuring the employees’ safety.
Research Philosophy, Approach, and Strategy
The study on safety measures to reduce STF accidents at the nursing home focused on a positivist philosophy; this describes the manner in which the data for the study was collected, analyzed, and utilized. The positivist philosophy believes in a stable reality that can be observed and described from an objective perspective. It applies to the study through the use of standardized instruments such as the questionnaire in data collection. The data collected through the instrument can undergo interpretation without bias. Evidence from the study can help in predicting the increase or decrease in accidents based on changes in the safety policies and programs. The study seeks to establish a universal truth about the effectiveness of safety measures in nursing homes; this depicts a positivist view (Sage Publications, n.d.).
The study adopted an inductive approach; this involves the collection of data concerning the effectiveness of safety measures in reducing employee accidents at the nursing home. The collected data is then studied and analyzed to establish a pattern of relationship among the variables (Blackstone, 2015). It facilitates the development of a theory to explain whether the safety measures are effective, or changes need to occur. An analysis of responses by the employees provides information on the prevalence of STF accidents, existing safety measures, effects of the accidents, and strategies on how to improve.
Through the strategy of survey, I was able to acquire data on the context, practice, and challenges, of safety measures for preventing accidents at the nursing home. It occurred through a questionnaire completed by the institution’s employees. Inferences occurred from the data through the use of qualitative analytical techniques. The survey strategy was selected due to the ability to use it in studying more than one variable at the same time.
The study adhered to ethical considerations concerning the topic and respondents. The fast track ethical approval form was duly completed. A contemplation of the ethical repercussions of the study was evident in the guarantee of the anonymity of the respondents. The collected information remained confidential throughout the study. The questionnaires were given to respondents that voluntarily consented to take part in the pilot study. The study focused on acquiring the relevant data without causing harm to the participants. I explained the purpose of the study in a clear manner. The questions were also clear and straightforward to avoid any form of deception. The study focused on objective rather than subjective data. The respondents were made aware of the fact that the information would be used for academic purposes and not financial gain or the victimization of any individual or institution.
The study focused on the use of questionnaires as the primary means of data collection. It helped in determining the effectiveness of safety measures to reduce accidents among employees in the nursing home. The questions were carefully selected and formulated in line with the research’s objectives. The questionnaire seeks information on the existing safety policies and practices in the nursing home, their effectiveness, and how they can improve. The simple and precise questions targeted a sample size of 10 respondents; these were all employees at the nursing home. An analysis of the design and purpose of each question will depict how it focuses on the research objective and seeks to accomplish it.
Question one in the questionnaire is designed to elicit answers on the rate of STF accidents and causes. It obtained information on the prevalence of accidents among the employees in the nursing home. It also facilitated an empirical compilation of some of the major causes of STF accidents. The information it obtains can help in developing intervention strategies to address the major causes of such accidents. It also helps in concluding whether or not the existing safety programs and policies in the nursing home are effective in minimizing the occurrence of accidents among the employees.
Question four is designed to elicit the employees’ opinions on what can be done to improve the situation at the nursing home. The employees understand the contexts, effects, and causes of STF accidents; this is because they are directly affected by the accidents. Through its design, the question accomplishes its purpose of acquiring unbiased information on how the improvement of safety programs and policies at the nursing home can minimize accidents occurrences. It elucidates on how some of the consequences of STF accidents listed in question 1(b) can be eliminated and prevented. It is supported by question five; this seeks the employees’ suggestions on how to minimize the accidents. It ensures the provision of a wide range of solutions that can be analyzed to adopt the best for implementation. The questionnaire served as an effective data collection tool during the pilot study.
Evidence from the pilot research shows that the respondents are aware of the STF accidents concern and need to improve safety measures in the nursing home. The study revealed that most of the employees have experienced STF accidents. They had suffered the various consequences of such accidents on their health, workplace ability, finance, and overall wellbeing. Despite the existence of various safety policies and programs, the nursing home did not effectively implement them to ensure the employees’ safety in the workplace. The assistive equipment were also few and, therefore, could not help all caregivers in the care of the nursing home’s residents. The study shed light on the possible changes that could occur in reducing the occurrence of STF accidents. Responses from the employees revealed cost-effective strategies that would boost their safety. Based on theoretical perspectives, a safe and conducive work environment increases employee satisfaction. The adoption of the suggestions can ensure employee safety and increase their performance in ensuring the provision of quality care for the nursing home residents.
The pilot research revealed the need for improvements in the safety measures employed in minimizing STF accidents among the workers. In question one, 60% of the respondents had experienced STF accidents, whereas, 90% know a colleague who had experienced such accidents. In section (b), some of the effects of the STF accidents on the employees included hospital admissions, surgery, absenteeism, and inability to work effectively. Question two revealed the existence of some safety policies and guidelines including the:
Occupational Safety & Health Administration e-tool (OSHA, 2015)
Anatomy of nursing homes with potential hazards
Institutional Safety Policy Guidelines
However, the guidelines were rarely used by both the administration and the employees. Few training programs on safety occurred, and most of the employees did not seek to learn about the safety concerns individually. Question three showed that limited assistive equipment were available in the home. Only 70% of the respondents admitted to knowing how to utilize the equipment appropriately. Question four involved inquiries on how an improvement of the safety measures would benefit the employees. Based on their experiences, they provided a wide range of views on how the change would impact the quality of the nursing home environment. The most common predictions included a reduction in the severity and number of accidents, few lost work days and improved job satisfaction and morale. Question five outlined strategies to minimize the accidents’ occurrence in the home. Some of the suggestions included the maintenance of dry floors, the addition of mechanical lifting equipment, and training on how to apply safety strategies in the workplace.
The study focused on determining the effectiveness of safety measures in reducing accidents in the nursing home. The research strategy, instruments, and methods helped in acquiring information on the need to improve the quality of safety measures as a means of minimizing accidents. The research philosophy, approach, and strategy facilitated the effective preparation of inferences from the data. Preparation of research questions focused on the objective stated at the beginning of the study. The clarity of the questions and their ability to elicit quantifiable answers ensured the validity of the study. Validity also occurred through the preparation of research questions in line with the study’s objective. It guaranteed the credibility of the information acquired during the study (Noble & Smith, 2015). Despite the successful collection, analysis, and synthesis of data on the topic, the study experienced certain limitations. First and foremost, the limited number of respondents prevented the acquisition of results that can be generalized and applied to various nursing homes. The questionnaire also contained a few questions; five questions are not enough to acquire comprehensive information on the issue of safety measures in nursing homes. Results from the study are not conclusive, but a foundation for future studies on the effectiveness of safety measures in reducing accidents among nursing home employees.
The increasing occurrence of slip, trip, and fall accidents in nursing homes is a major concern for both employers and employees. Despite the existence of safety policies and programs, the trend continues. A study on the safety measures helps in determining their effectiveness and need for improvement. Evidence collected during the pilot study helped in the development of suggestions that may help the nursing home in minimizing the occurrence of STF accidents among its employees. The information can help in improving nursing homes across the nation.
ATLAS, R. (2012) Slips, Trips, and Falls: Bad Design or Careless Behavior? Research and Practice for Fall Injury Control in the Workplace: Proceedings of 2010 International Conference on Fall Prevention and Protection. Morgantown, WV: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. [Online]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2012-103/pdfs/2012-103.pdf. [Accessed: 24th June 2015].
BELL, J. L., COLLINS, J. W., TIESMAN, H. M., RIDENOUR, M., WOLF, L., & EVANOFF, B. (2012) Slip, Trip, and Fall Injuries to Nursing Home Workers. Research and Practice for Fall Injury Control in the Workplace: Proceedings of 2010 International Conference on Fall Prevention and Protection. Morgantown, WV: Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. [Online]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2012-103/pdfs/2012-103.pdf. [Accessed: 24th June 2015].
BLACKSTONE, A. (2015) Chapter 2.3: Inductive or Deductive? Two different approaches. Principles of Sociological Inquiry: Qualitative and Quantitative Methods, 1.0. Flatworld Education Inc. [Online]. Available from: http://catalog.flatworldknowledge.com/bookhub/reader/3585?e=blackstone_1.0-ch02_s03#blackstone_1.0-ch02_s03. [Accessed: 24th June 2015].
HEALTH AND SAFETY EXECUTIVE. (2005) Part 1: Literature Review. Research into the Behavioral Aspects of Slips and Trip Accidents and Incidents. Research Report 396. Norwich: Rossmore MCA Limited. [Online]. Available from: http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr396.pdf. [Accessed: 24th June 2015].
NOBLE, H. & SMITH, J. (2015) Issues of Validity and Reliability in Qualitative Research. Evidence Based Nursing, 18: 34-35. [Online]. Available from: http://ebn.bmj.com/content/18/2/34.full. [Accessed: 24th June 2015].
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY & HEALTH ADMINISTRATION. (2015) Nursing Homes and Personal Care Facilities: Hazards and Solutions. United States Department of Labor. [Online]. Available from: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/nursinghome/hazards_solutions.html. [Accessed: 24th June 2015].
RAOUF, A. (2011) Theory of Accident Causes. ILO Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety. [Online]. Available from: http://www.ilo.org/iloenc/part-viii/accident-prevention/item/894-theory-of-accident-causes. [Accessed: 24th June 2015].
SAGE PUBLICATIONS. (n.d.) Chapter 2: Research Philosophy and Qualitative Interviews. [Online]. Available from: http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/43179_2.pdf. [Accessed: 24th June 2015].
TRINKOFF, A. M., JOHANTGEN, M., MUNTANER, C., & LE, R. (2005) Staffing and Worker Injury in Nursing Homes. American Journal of Public Health, 95(7): 1220-1225. [Online]. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1449343/. [Accessed: 24th June 2015].
U.S BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS. (2015) Injuries due to Slips, Trips, and Falls. [Online]. Available from: http://www.noinjuries.com/slips-falls/. [Accessed: 24th June 2015].
APPENDIX I: QUESTIONNAIRE
Section I: Demographic Information
Sex (Circle): Male Female
Period of work at the nursing home:
Section II: Safety Policies and Practices
Have you experienced a trip, slip or fall accident in the nursing home? (Tick appropriately)
Do you know any other colleague who has experienced a slip, trip or fall (STF) accident in the nursing home? (Tick appropriately)
(b) How do the slip, trip, and fall accidents affect employees in the nursing home?
What safety policies and guidelines are used to minimize the occurrence of STF accidents in the nursing home?
What assistive equipment are made available for the employees to use in the nursing home?
(b) How are they used to prevent STF accidents?
How can effective safety programs and policies benefit employees in the nursing home?
What can be done to minimize the occurrence of STF accidents among employees in the nursing home?
APPENDIX II: RAW DATA
Question 2: Safety policies and guidelines available in the nursing home
Anatomy of a Nursing Home with Potential Hazards
Institutional Safety Policy Document
Question 3: Assistive equipment available in the nursing home
Portable mechanical lifting equipment
Ceiling-mounted mechanical lifting equipment
Question 3(b): Nurses that know how to use the assistive equipment
Question 4: How an improvement of the safety measures would benefit the employees
Reduction in the severity and number of injuries
Reduction in lost workdays
Pregnant employees can work longer
Employees can work to an old age
Less pain and muscle fatigue
Question 5: Strategies for reducing STF accidents
Mechanical lifting equipment
Maintaining dry floors
Training on safety
Regular fixing of equipment
Installing continuous handrails
Fixed carpets and pads