Texas Children’s continues to promote workplace safety

August 13, 2019

When you watch the news these days, it’s hard not to be inundated with tragic stories and heart-wrenching events happening around the world – with some hitting very close to home.

The recent shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, impacted many people throughout the country. While these tragic events could happen anywhere, you might be asking yourself, “What is Texas Children’s doing to keep our employees, staff, patients and their families safe?”

“Creating a safe workplace environment at Texas Children’s continues to remain a priority,” said Organizational Resilience Director James Mitchell. “Our collaborative efforts to keep employees safe has matured over the years to include active shooter and workplace violence training.”

Over the past several years, Mitchell and his team have gone from implementing table-top exercises on mass shooting incidents to large-scale exercises. Beginning in early 2017 through earlier this year, they have conducted large scale active shooter exercises at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower and at Texas Children’s Health Plan. Additional exercises will be planned for 2020.

Also, the successful implementation of Everbridge, the hospital’s emergency notification system, has allowed his team and others to alert all employees quickly and over various methods – phone, text and email – in the event of an emergency, including an active shooter event.

“Our security team, led by Mike Crum, will upon request, provide any department within the Texas Children’s system active shooter and/or workplace violence training,” Mitchell said. “Our Emergency Management team can also provide this type of training to our staff if necessary.”

Along with training programs, additional steps are underway at Texas Children’s to promote workplace safety, while also keeping the safety of our patients and their families in mind.

With more than 12-million square feet of space among our 125 Texas Children’s locations, there are multiple entrances and exits to our facilities, especially at our Medical Center campus. The organization is looking at ways to reduce entry points to improve better monitoring.

“Our team has conducted risk assessments at 18 of our Texas Children’s locations,” said Vice President of Facilities Operations Bert Gumeringer. “By the end of the year, we will have completed assessments at all of our Texas Children’s facilities. The information gathered from these locations will help us identify other safety measures we may consider putting in place.”

In addition to improved lighting in our parking lots and an increase in security presence in certain areas, Gumeringer and his team are looking into implementing a visitor management program in other areas of the hospital similar to the one in place at Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower. This program operates by having a security officer present on each floor of Legacy Tower. Before gaining entry, visitors must present a government issued ID and wear an ID wristband that is tied to the hospital’s database.

While Texas Children’s biggest violent threat continues to be domestic in nature, Texas Children’s understands that mass shootings are of concern and could happen anywhere. That’s why the organization will continue to train and prepare staff for such an event.

At Texas Children’s, every employee plays a role in promoting workplace safety. If you see something that isn’t right, say something so these potential safety concerns can be addressed.

If your department is interested in scheduling active shooter or workplace violence training, contact Michael Crum at mccrum@texaschildrens.org