“It happens every day.”
This was the reaction many BWHers 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.
Although the videos showed the worst-case outcomes for these situations, “tailgating” is a common security breach at hospitals across the country. At the Brigham, a new campaign centered on the two videos aims to empower all staff to prevent tailgating by giving them the resources they need to take action.
“We have about 1,200 restricted areas in the hospital that require badge access or a key to enter,” said Dave Corbin, CPP, CHPA, director of Security. “But if people are able to follow behind a staff member without permission, the card readers and locks aren’t effective. That’s why we’re asking all employees to be aware and look behind them every time they use their badge or a key to enter one of these areas.”
Corbin and Erin McDonough, MBA, senior vice president and chief communication officer, held 16 half-hour sessions in Bornstein Amphitheater over two days. During the event, employees viewed the videos, learned tactics to prevent tailgating and engaged in discussion.
“These sessions were excellent and truly necessary,” said Diane Bemis of the Renal Division and the Division of Engineering in Medicine. “When I first saw the infant video, I was floored and realize now just how a scenario like this could happen. All hospitals should be doing a campaign like this for their employees.”
During the sessions, employees acted out various scenarios following the “Stop, Challenge, Assist” response that Corbin explained (see box below). This response enables staff to engage in a conversation with someone who may be trying to gain access, without being confrontational, and to direct them to Security or a proper access point.
“We want you to use the Stop, Challenge, Assist method, but if at any point you feel threatened or uncomfortable engaging with someone, we ask that you simply call Security and provide their description,” Corbin stressed. “We would never want an employee to put themselves in harm’s way, but we do need you to take that step of calling us for the safety of everyone.”
Athena Lacaire, an Obstetrical Admitting officer who participated in the role-play during one of the sessions, said the information she learned was empowering. “The videos made my heart pound, but it was reassuring to know that just by looking up and being aware, you can make a difference in preventing someone from gaining access,” she said.
Corbin emphasized the difference employees can make simply by being vigilant.
“If all 18,000 of our employees are engaged in this, our level of security is much greater,” Corbin said. “We’re asking people to be aware of their surroundings, just as you’re asked to do when you ride the MBTA or go to the airport, for example.”
The hospital recently created an Access Control policy that requires all employees to be responsible for ensuring that no one enters an area under their ID badge access without permission. To view the policy, campaign videos, FAQs and other resources, visit BWHPikeNotes.org.