Remember that song from Five Man Electrical Band in the early 70s called Signs?
“Sign, sign. Everywhere a sign. Blockin’ out the scenery. Breakin’ my mind. Do this, don’t do that. Can’t you read the sign?”
That song has been playing over and over in my mind recently. Weird, right? It’s not like it’s topping the charts today. The only rational explanation I have for this continuous cranium loop is the various signs I have seen in recent months – surveys, reports, trends, and data all pointing to safety pain points. When you lead a safety tech company, you gravitate to safety insights so that you can figure out ways to help customers tackle their problems.
Signs abound – are you seeing them?
One of the first signs I recall seeing came from a fact sheet from the American Hospital Association this summer. Titled Healthcare Workplace Violence and Intimidation and the Need for a Federal Legislative, the resource highlights the fact that since COVID-19, patients, visitors, and family members have increasingly acted violently against healthcare staff. The landing page for that report points to incidents in healthcare settings and says, in part, “Data supports these news reports. Recent studies indicate, for example, that 44% of nurses reported experiencing physical violence and 68% reported experiencing verbal abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Workplace violence has severe consequences for the entire healthcare system. Not only does violence cause physical and psychological injury for health care workers, workplace violence and intimidation make it more difficult for nurses, doctors, and other clinical staff to provide quality patient care.”
Then there was an article in Fortune Well, an offshoot of Fortune magazine. The piece, Crisis on Campus: 60% of College Kids are Living with Mental Health Disorders, and Schools Are Woefully Unprepared article said, “American college students are facing an unprecedented mental health crisis. Three in five (60%) college students reported being diagnosed with a mental health condition by a professional, the most common afflictions being anxiety and depression.” This data was gleaned during an exclusive Fortune survey of 1,000 college students in June, but to be honest, this topic has been front and center for quite some time. I know this because Rave has been interviewed by reporters covering this crisis and has contributed several articles to trade publications delving into mental health, especially since the debut of 988, the national mental health hotline, in July.
Signs of fractures in the workplace safety ecosystem have been well-documented too. America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate, the National Safety Council (NSC), released a report titled Workplace Violence: Using Technology to Reduce Risk. Per the report, workplace violence is on the rise and nearly half of U.S. employers are unprepared to prevent or respond to incidents. These findings are in line with what we captured last year in the Rave Workplace Safety survey, and I would venture a guess that when we release our 2022 survey results on the same subject in October, we will once again see that businesses can do a lot more to advance safety in the workplace.
And what would a blog about safety be without mention of the folks on the frontline? An article in American City and County in August looked at the challenges being faced by 911 answering centers. The very people and places that we call for help when an emergency occurs are grappling with issues including staff shortages and technological transformation. And while these hurdles may seem less overt in terms of physical or mental impact, they are certainly taking a toll on the dedicated professionals who staff public safety answering points (PSAPs) across the nation. Juggling crisis intervention, while struggling to work on disparate legacy computer systems and modern technologies with fewer people doing the work absolutely has an impact on safety.
These are but a few of the reasons that the song about signs has been playing in my head for several months.
Learning is key – are you keeping up?
Whether safety challenges are mounting in the healthcare environment, the corporate realm, in our schools, or in our communities, they require accountability on the part of practitioners to keep pace with progress – or problems.
It’s hard to find an open hour in our days to address the work before us, let alone make time to address new considerations. But, for those of us whose work centers around safety – continuous learning is necessary. With that in mind, Rave Mobile Safety decided 12 years ago to pull together a program that emphasizes topical safety knowledge in small bites. That forum, the Rave Summit, takes place every year.
Visit the Rave Summit page for more information and to register.