OSHA launched a new Preventing Workplace Violence in Healthcare webpage this week.  It contains several new tools and resources to help healthcare facilities combat workplace violence, including:

  • An executive summary for hospital administrators and others who want to learn more about the prevalence of workplace violence in healthcare, associated costs, key risk factors, and what

OSHA announced this week a shift in how it will evaluate inspections, recognizing that inspections are not all equal and that more-complex inspections deserve more weight. The complexity of an inspection affects the amount of time, manpower and other resources required by OSHA and this new tiered inspection system will reflect this complexity. Under the

OSHA released an update to its Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers. The publication includes industry best practices and provides some insight on how to reduce the risk of violence in various healthcare and social service settings.  To protect against violence, OSHA recommends that healthcare providers develop an effective workplace violence prevention program that includes:  (1) Management commitment and employee participation; (2) Worksite analysis/Tracking and Trending; (3) Hazard prevention and control; (4) Safety and health training; and (5) Recordkeeping and program evaluation.  In the Guidelines, OSHA provides several detailed charts to assist employers in navigating and implementing these program elements.

In the Guidelines, OSHA indicates that healthcare and social service workers face a significant risk of job-related violence.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 27 out of the 100 fatalities in the healthcare and social service industries in 2013 were due to assaults and violent acts.  In addition, 70-74% of all workplace assaults occurred in the healthcare and social service industries and assaults comprised 10-11% of workplace injuries involving days away from work for healthcare workers.

Work-related assaults and other incident of workplace violence primarily result from violent behavior from patients, clients and residents in healthcare and social service settings.  Working directly with people who have a history of violence or who have abused drugs or alcohol increase the risk that an employee can be subject to workplace violence.  Working with the public or with relatives of patients and residents also increases the risk of violence.  Other factors that employers should consider in assessing whether their employees are at risk for workplace violence include:

  • Working with volatile, unstable people
  • Transporting patients, residents or clients
  • Working alone in a facility or in a patient’s home
  • Lack of emergency communication
  • Working late at night or early morning hours
  • Working in poor lit corridors, rooms, parking lots and other areas
  • Working in areas with high crime rates
  • Availability of firearms and weapons
  • Long waits for care and services
  • Overcrowded or uncomfortable waiting rooms

Hospitals, Residential Treatment, Non-residential Treatment, Community Care, and Field work settings may have a number of these risk factors that would warrant the need to create a written violence prevention program with the five program elements.


Continue Reading OSHA Issues New Guidelines on Workplace Violence Prevention for Healthcare

During a particularly busy September, OSHA issued three new enforcement directives that employers should review:

Enforcement Procedures for Investigating or Inspecting Workplace Violence Incidents.  On September 8, 2011, OSHA issued its first ever directive instructing compliance officers on how to conduct inspections that occur as a result of workplace violence incidents.  The directive "clarifies and expands" OSHA policies in

Click here to read this recent Jackson Lewis article on a new Connecticut law requiring health care employers to develop and implement plans, policies, and training programs to prevent and respond to workplace violence incidents.  Putting aside the issue of whether such a law is preempted by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, health

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has signed into law the “Possession of Firearms and Ammunition in Locked Vehicles Law.”  The law bars employers from adopting any rule or policy prohibiting employees, including contract employees, from storing firearms and ammunition out-of-sight in their locked vehicles.  Effective July 1, 2010, the law applies only to persons who may