Preventing Violence in Healthcare: A Guide to Implementation

TX Regulator State & Health Services
Healthcare workers who work in nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities are exposed to a number of workplace hazards that can turn violent. This includes harassment, threats, verbal abuse, physical assaults, intimidation tactics and other disruptive behavior that can occur at their place of work. In severe cases, homicide is not uncommon either. While some incidents may differ according to the location and type of healthcare facility, healthcare workers are in danger from the following:
  • Transporting patients from their homes to the hospital and back.
  • Working in a patient’s home or alone in a hospital
  • Working in poorly lit or isolated areas
  • Lack of emergency communication
  • Working in areas with high crime rates
Workplace violence can prove costly if it is not nipped in the bud early. Besides harming healthcare workers emotionally and physically, it also makes their jobs more difficult than they have to be. In addition, many of them are forced to take days off which proves costly to their employers. In fact, a single injured staff member can lead to the loss of thousands of dollars. This includes overtime, recruiting/training new workers and hiring temporary workers till suitable replacements are hired. In other words, workplace violence in a healthcare facility (like any other workplace) can lead to high turnover costs and loss of morale. Both contribute to loss in productivity which can prove fatal to a business.

Importance of violence prevention programs

According to OSHA regulations, employers are responsible for ensuring their workers remain safe and feel safe in their workplace. A written violence protection program can reduce and ultimately eliminate incidents that can result in bodily harm or worse in a healthcare facility. An effective workplace violence prevention program is made up of the following elements:
  • Safety and health training
  • Violence prevention and control
  • Hazard prevention and control
  • Record keeping practices
  • Program effectiveness
  • Employee participation
  • Commitment of management
A violence prevention program is used to create processes that can suit workplaces under scrutiny. As such it should have clear cut objectives that can help management eliminate violence in the workplace and it should also be adaptable to specific situations.

A violence prevention program is used to create processes that can suit workplaces under scrutiny. Click To Tweet

A well made plan will have interdependent components so that it can respond to changes as and when they occur in a facility. This includes expansions, introduction of new clients, changes in management, changes in procedures etc. Like any health and safety program, a violence prevention program for a workplace should be examined regularly. However, before creating one, make sure to check what your state requirements are first. A number of states have their own regulations and requirements for addressing workplace violence.

Examine worksites and identify common hazards

Before creating a workplace violence prevention plan for a healthcare facility, a worksite analysis should be conducted. This includes a thorough examination of worksites to determine hazards that have the potential to lead to violence. To make this work, workers and management should cooperate in identifying hazards that can help the safety program succeed. The team should include personnel whose insight will prove invaluable to the process such as:
  • Senior staff members
  • Supervisors
  • Management
  • Human resources
  • Security personnel
  • Employee assistance representatives
  • Personnel from the legal department
This collaboration is important. Even though it is ultimately the management’s responsibility to ensure workplace safety, employee insight can speed up the process. Their familiarity and knowhow about the healthcare facility they work in along as well as its potential threats can result in an effective violence prevention program. The workplace assessment should include:
  • Employee surveys
  • Procedural and operational reviews for different jobs
  • Results of analysis from workplace security

Behavioral Based Safety Certification

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Learn how to conduct safety observations, correct incorrect behavior and create an effective workplace safety program by signing up for the Behavioral Based Safety Training by today. Students who opt for the course will learn about the tools they need to record risky and safe behavior and how to detect patterns in the workplace. The course also includes subjects on ethics, compliance and Human Resources.

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