Hospital Safety Consultants Can Prepare Your Facility for Violence


The recent deadly shooting at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center in New York is a tragic reminder that health care institutions are no longer the safe havens they once were. Hospital settings have experienced a steady increase of crime ranging from physical and sexual assault to robbery and homicide. Now we are faced with gun violence from the streets spilling into hospital doors – just as it has at schools and college campuses. Long thought of as a nightmare scenario, an active shooter within hospital walls or grounds is now understandably a viable and very real threat. A threat to the safety and security of every patient, visitor, and member of staff.

As the leading hospital safety consultants in Pittsburgh, PA, MAC Safety strives to enhance the safety at every facility we serve. Not only must hospital operators contend with ligature risks, manage environmental conditions, and intermediate to high-level disinfection activities, but now the situational handling of an active shooter certainly needs to be re-addressed to secure a safe environment and workplace.

Unfortunately, all we or any medical facility can do is work together to reduce any and all risks to the fullest extent possible. While it’s certainly an ongoing goal to work towards, very rarely do the measures and strategies implemented and enforced “prevent” bad things from ever happening.

What occurred at Bronx-Lebanon very likely couldn’t have been altogether prevented. By most accounts, the response at the facility was within the appropriate level of preparedness. The fact of the matter is it could’ve been worse, so much worse. What hospital operators must do now is learn from the event to be better prepared in the future.

Here are a few areas our Pittsburgh hospital safety consultants can assess and address to make your facility safer and better prepared for such scenarios:

Identifying High Risk Areas

Hospitals don’t lock their doors. They’re open to the public 24/7, which presents some unique challenges when it comes to securing the building and grounds. It’s just not possible to screen every individual entering the premises.

Even if people must walk through metal detectors upon entering the building, there’s no way to predict aberrant behavior or conduct a behavioral health assessment on every person.

Emergency rooms and medical/surgical patient rooms are high-stress areas. ER’s are also a high-traffic area complicating things all the more.

Focus on protecting patients first. The best way to do this is to be vigilant when it comes to controlling access to these areas and nursing stations.

Eliminate Violence Towards Patients

Needless to say, hospitals are a high-stress environment. There’s no telling when behavioral or mental health issues, drug or alcohol use, or the personal crises of any given individual – from patients to visitors to hospital staff – can come into play.

There is always the risk of health care workers being prompted – even somewhat provoked – to get physical with a patient. Disciplinary actions, even termination, must be enforced to discourage such potentially escalatory situations since they put everyone at risk.

Background checks on any new hire for a high risk part of the facility are also encouraged.

Prevention Strategies

Focus must be put on what organizations as a whole can do to reduce the risk of violence and better protect their environment. From proper training regarding de-escalation tactics to reinforcing the role of the caregiver in patient safety and the staff’s responsibility to be observant, aware of their surroundings, ask questions, identify potentially violent individuals, and report real or perceived threats.

It is time to face the reality that this is our 21st Century existence. Not being prepared for situations involving an active shooter in a hospital setting is no longer option.


MAC Safety provides hospital safety consulting in Pittsburgh, PA. If you’d like to learn more about our services, contact us today at 724-513-4491.

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