Does your facility have a current workplace violence prevention policy? If it doesn’t, for the safety of your employees, it needs one. The lack of policies or noncompliance with policies is one of the root causes of violent events. 1

Between 2010 and 2013, an estimated 24,000 workplace assaults occurred in healthcare facilities resulting in injuries and psychological harm including permanent disabilities and death.1 In one year, 76 percent of nurses experienced verbal or physical abuse. 2 And, if those numbers aren’t sobering enough, OSHA states that “violence is vastly underreported. For example, a survey of 4,738 Minne­sota nurses found that only 69 percent of physical assaults and 71 percent of non-physical assaults were reported to a manager…”3

If a facility doesn’t have a clear policy regarding workplace violence or if that policy is not enforced, employees may not feel safe reporting a violent incident, or they may not bother reporting one because they don’t believe any action will be taken. OSHA lists the lack of facility policies as an organizational risk factor for workplace violence4 and states that the lack of a reporting policy is one of the primary reasons for underreporting.3 Also, in Workplace Violence in Healthcare: Strategies for Advocacy, researchers noted that while all workplace violence policies look good on paper, the most important thing is how they are “implemented and enforced.”5

With this much agreement among the experts, it may be time for you to develop or review your workplace violence policy. A policy is important because it

  • Explains to employees what inappropriate behaviors are covered including intimidation, harassment, and assault;
  • Encourages employees to report incidents and gives them the steps for doing so; and
  • Shows leadership’s commitment to handling the reported incidents.6

IntelliCentrics recognizes the policy challenges faced by healthcare facilities and has made the distribution and enforcement of policies a cornerstone of our managed services offerings. We all play a role in providing a safe and healthcare experience for patients and staff. Together, we can ensure your policies do more than just look great in print; we can make sure they safeguard the people they were designed to protect.

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Sources:

  1. JAMA Workplace Violence in Health Care
  2. JEN Incidence and Cost of Nurse Workplace Violence Perpetrated by Hospital Patients or Patient Visitors
  3. OSHA Workplace Violence in Healthcare
  4. OSHA Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers
  5. OJIN Workplace Violence in Healthcare: Strategies for Advocacy
  6. OPM Dealing with Workplace Violence

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