Good day to our Health Facilities Management readers. The results of the Hospital Construction Survey are here, and I thank all of you who took the time to complete it. This is one of many important annual surveys that help us gauge where we are heading in the health care world.

Whether we are building, renovating, expanding, purchasing or rebuilding a health care facility, we need to remember construction safety. A simple way to do this is to begin all construction meetings with a safety moment: a time to share a near miss or a story about safety culture with your workers.

Safety training also is key to success. Setting up a routine training program with your general contractors will offer great exposure for your construction teams. Some examples from my facility are annual fire-stopping training, annual contractor safety review, quarterly safety meetings, tool box talks, fire drills, emergency management drills, Code Amber drills, construction walk-throughs and participating in safety committee meetings.

It can take time to build a safety and emergency management culture, but it is better to be proactive than reactive when an event occurs at your facility. The safety risk assessment (SRA) is a great tool to use before projects begin. My facility has used the pre-construction risk assessment (PCRA) for years, which allows us a defined process in construction meetings. The SRA and PCRA go hand in hand as you develop your construction teams and project.

The project managers should develop risk assessments in conjunction with the architect and user groups, such as nursing, security, facility plant, respiratory, lab and more. If you’re working with infection preventionists, develop an infection control risk assessment (ICRA) map with them to define the construction scope of work.

Finally, having up-to-date policies and procedures is key to success. Please make sure you have an updated plan on ICRA, ILSM, SRA process, fire barrier plan, fire impairment policy, contractor safety review policy and more. If you need any guidance, the American Society for Health Care Engineering family can assist you.

Have a great day and be safe!