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Security incidents in Safety Learning System

The reporting and review of both emergency and non-emergency security incidents is recognised as an important addition to Safety Learning System (SLS) that will contribute to improving safety for patients, workers and visitors.

Definition - A security incident is any event or circumstance that resulted in a request for emergency or non-emergency security attendance. These include when any of the Emergency Codes are called.

Who will record security incidents?

For health service organisations employing Security officers, these officers will be the usual notifiers. For other services a range of staff will be given responsibility for recording incidents into the Security module.

Who will be responsible for review of these incidents?

Staff responsible for review of the incident reports will vary, depending on the type of emergency code called and local or Local Health Network arrangements.

For example, Code Black incidents that involve a patient will require review by a clinical manager who may include security managers or WHS or other managers in that review. Code Red (fire) may require review by building supervisors, for example.

How are security incidents classified in SLS?

All security incidents are classified by selecting from a series of questions with several options. There are additional questions and space to record comments. The diagram Security incidents – level 1, 2, and 3 classifications (PDF 90KB) illustrates the hierarchy of classification options in the Security incident module.

The Topic Guide – Security incident module (PDF 147KB) provides definitions for terms used when recording a security incident into the SLS. Definitions of common terms are provided to ensure that reporting is consistent and accurate.

What are the types of emergencies?

Emergencies include all of the emergency codes. Code Blue reporting will commence in the near future. These are:

Code Definition
Code Black Personal threat, for example assault, violence, threatening behaviour
Code Blue Medical emergency, for example cardiac arrest, loss of consciousness
Code Brown External emergency, for example mass casualty
Code Orange Evacuation
Code Purple Bomb threat, for example suspicious package
Code Red Fire and/or smoke
Code Yellow Internal emergency, for example hazardous substances spills, structural damage, essential services failure

What are non-emergency security assists?

This is a non-emergency request made by clinical staff for Security officers to attend, and to assist or standby while an aspect of clinical care is carried out, as a precautionary or preventative action where challenging behaviour is reasonably anticipated. Examples include:

  • Security officer attending while nursing staff change a catheter, for a patient with dementia who was quite aggressive last time this occurred.
  • Security attend a difficult family meeting, when it is anticipated that there may be verbal or physical confrontation.
  • Security attend to re-apply a mechanical restraint after its scheduled release, to allow for limb movement. Clinical staff are unable to reapply safely because the consumer becomes combative and likely to harm themselves and/or staff.

Some incidents may escalate into an emergency, leading to a Code Black call to request the full Emergency Response team to attend.

Routine practice is not required to be reported as it is not an incident, for example, escorting a patient to xray.

What is a Code Black call and how is it made?

The SA Health Preventing and Responding to Challenging Behaviour policy directive (PDF 547KB) and toolkit provides further information. See also:

Updates and outages

For a list of recent and upcoming SLS updates and outages, see the Safety Learning System Notice page. 

Further information

For further information or enquiries, please contact:

David Robinson / Cameron Hussey
Information Officers, SLS Management Team
Telephone: (08) 8226 6177 / (08) 8226 9601
Email: Safetylearningsystem@sa.gov.au

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