Each year, between 44,000 to 98,000 deaths in medical facilities occur due to medical errors. The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Committee on Quality of Healthcare in America uncovered the astonishing result in 1999. The enormous death toll in hospitals due to malpractice sent shockwaves throughout the medical world.
Every medical profession from doctors to massage therapists was rattled at IOM’s findings. This resulted in strengthening and reanalyzing the procedures to modify existing ones and employ new ones in place. Out of all the medical professions, people wondered why massage therapists needed to take extra care.
If you are a massage therapist, you might already know the answer or might have thought the same thing. Even though your profession does not require you to use dangerous equipment, the facility that you are using to perform massage therapy can pose potential hazards. In order to prevent medical errors from occurring, use the following checklist to ensure the safety of your client:
Sanitation and Safety of Work Environment
- Bright walkways and hallways, free of obstructions
- Cleaned and vacuumed carpets
- Stock of anti-bacterial soap and paper towels
- Provide your client with a new towel, wash them after use, and store them in a cabinet
- Do not massage your clients if you are contagious or sick
- Sanitize all possible locations of your massage facility and any equipment you use with clients
- Do not use equipment or material your client is allergic to
- Install automatic auxiliary heating in the massage room to provide your client with a comfortable environment
- Maintain and clean the ventilation and heating system, changing the filters as required
- Turn off all electrical appliances when not in use and inspect them for safety
First Aid and Fire Safety
- Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
- Know where each fire extinguisher is located and learn to use them
- Fire exits should be marked clearly
- Establish evacuation procedures in the case of a fire
- After use, blow out candles
- Contact the fire department to examine your massage facility for safety
- Inform your assistants or other massage therapists about the location of the first aid kit
- Hold classes for your staff to learn CPR techniques
- Place emergency contact information near phones with numbers for the ambulance, emergency room, taxicabs, doctors, police, and fire departments.
Establish a Safety and Health Policy Statement
Your massage facility should establish a safety and health policy statement to assure your staff, clients, and visitors that your facility has all the right measures in place to ensure their safety in your facility.
In your message, it should clearly state that your facility operates in compliance with all the state and national regulations of safety and health outlined by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), Worker’s Compensation Bureau, state fire laws, and the organization that has the responsibility for maintaining and overseeing all the safety programs and measures.
Establish an Emergency Action Plan
Put in place procedures and policies informing employees, local authorities, and clients of what to do in case of an emergency. You will have the following procedures in place:
- Natural disasters
- Power outages
- Injury to client
Prevent Injury by Falls
- Stairs, steps, and walkways should be in good condition
- Stairs, steps, and walkways should be cleat of ice, leaves, snow, and clutter
- Rooms, hallways, and entrances should be bright
- Light switches should be placed be located near all the doorways and both sides of the stairs
- The surface of the steps and stairs should not be slippery
- Flashlights should be provided to staff in the event of an emergency or power outage
- The facility should not have anything that pose as a tripping hazard
- Place handrails on stairways and grab bars in bathrooms
- Clearly distinguish between bathrooms, exits, and entrances
Go through this list, putting a checkmark next to the option you already have in place at your massage facility. The options that you do not put a check mark next to signal that you need to put these measures in place to ensure the safety of your clients, staff, and visitors.
Did we forget anything, what would you add?