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Leading Hospital Improvement

RSS Feed RSS By: Mark G. Pelletier, R.N., M.S., Hospitals

News and knowledge for targeted for the hospital environment.

New Campaign Illustrates Need for Staff Training on Dangers of Tailgating

Jul 17, 2017 | 16600 Views

New Campaign Illustrates Need for Staff Training on Dangers of “Tailgating”

By Dave Corbin, director of Security & Parking at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Today’s blog post is guest-authored by Dave Corbin, director of security & parking at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Accredited by The Joint Commission with programs holding Laboratory and Ventricular Device certification, the hospital has launched a well-received security campaign. More workplace safety and violence prevention resources are available through The Joint Commission’s online portal for workplace violence prevention.

Interested in guest blogging? Contact Robin Hocevar, Corporate Communications at The Joint Commission or email

“It happens every day.”

This was the reaction many of our employees at Brigham and Women’s Hospital had after watching two provocative videos depicting scenarios in which an unauthorized person accessed a secure area because staff held the door or weren’t aware of their surroundings.

The training videos are part of a social media and public awareness campaign by Brigham and Women’s called #AwareBecauseWeCare, which aims to highlight the dangers of mindlessly holding the door open for the next person and inadvertently allowing an unauthorized individual into a secure area.

Although the videos showed the worst-case outcomes for these situations, “tailgating” is a common security breach at hospitals across the country. At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, our security team, recently launched a campaign to empower all staff to prevent tailgating.

The campaign includes new and updated policies that outline the actions that employees must take if they find themselves being followed by someone who is unauthorized to access a restricted area: question the person or contact Security.

To provide guidance for how staff should engage in a conversation with someone who may be trying to gain access, we produced cards that affix to employee’s hospital identification badges. The cards outline the steps employees should take to prevent someone from tailgating without being confrontational.

ID badges with helpful “Stop, Challenge, Assist” language were provided to employees.

When in Doubt, Call Security

While it is important that our employees understand that we want them to use the Stop, Challenge, Assist method, we never want them to put themselves in harm’s way. If, at any point they feel threatened or uncomfortable engaging with someone, we’ve educated them to call security and provide a description of the person and location.

We’ve also created a decal that has been placed above each ID card reader at the hospital to prompt people to look behind them at the point of access. Additionally, all of the elements of the campaign are available in one location on our intranet.

Employee Training

The campaign was rolled out earlier this summer through a series of 16 half-hour sessions over the course of two days with employees. We previewed and discussed the videos and demonstrated Stop, Challenge, Assist through role-playing different scenarios with employees. We are continuing to educate employees through rounds on the units for staff who work evenings.

To be successful, we need all of our employees to be engaged in this effort. When everyone is vigilant, we have a force of 18,000 people helping to ensure that BWH is a safe and secure place for everyone we serve.

Although our campaign is geared toward our employees, we know that this is an issue that hospitals across the country face on a daily basis. We have made our resources available to hospitals around the world through the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety, and we welcome you to visit to learn more and find links to view and download the videos.  Another important resource for security-related issues at hospitals is the Joint Commission’s online workplace violence prevention resource center.

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