Medical Waste Industry Insights

How to Keep Your Healthcare Facility Safe and Healthy This Winter

By David Ryan

Every year it’s inevitable -- winter is coming! Along with the winter season comes the influx of colds, flus and viruses. Keeping your healthcare facility safe and healthy this winter helps you keep your patients safe and healthy too.


Diligence in housekeeping and care are essential for a healthy healthcare facility.

We are about to embark on another mighty cold and flu season. Just as a physician might recommend steps for their patients, there are two big steps necessary to keep a healthcare facility healthy:

  1. Good housekeeping
  2. Hand washing (!)

It can be difficult to stay on track with hand washing in busy facilities, but it is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of cold and flu, plus other viral infections. Establishing and prominently displaying a hand washing policy can help by providing necessary guidelines for staff. If you need some guidance formulating your policy, check out these preventative guidelines from the CDC.


Protect your employees and visitors this winter.

OSHA also provides guidance on handwashing and hand hygiene. This includes the use of hand creams to avoid contact dermatitis and cracking of the hands caused by multiple hand washing. Like most employee safety initiatives, these ideas and practices can also help with infection control and quality of care environment. Ultimately, employees have a right to be safe at work, and the provision of effective hand washing and conditioning products is not only a best practice, it’s the law.   


Along with the cold temperatures in New England, winter brings snow and ice. The resulting slippery, hazardous surfaces can pose a hazard to your patients, visitors and employees. Your organization should be well prepared with plenty of ice-melting salt on hand, as well as a plan or scheduled resource to properly maintain walkways during the winter season.


Once again, OSHA provides helpful guidance to keep your walkways safe and clear of snow and ice. Signage can also prevent unnecessary injuries by alerting pedestrians to hazardous conditions, including ice, potential snowfall from a rooftop, icicles and more. Going beyond ice and snow removal to install signage can reduce injuries considerably.


When we were kids, our parents would bundle us up in layers and of course, our winter boots. Following Mom and Dad’s advice as adults may also be prudent. Appropriate winter footwear is yet another layer of protection against injuries. Specifically, rubber-soled boots or covers can best grip wet and snow-covered surfaces to prevent falls.


Take a few extra steps this winter to protect your most important asset.


Your employees are the backbone of your organization. Taking these few extra steps before the snow blows in can help keep them safe and healthy this winter season.

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