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Underscoring the threat in hospitals, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released updated Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers.
The guidelines signal that OSHA officials taks seriously the obligation of employers in healthcare and social service industries to minimize workplace violence. The report notes that of the 25,000 annual workplace assaults reported between 2011 and 2013, 70% to 74% of these occurred in healthcare and social service settings. The vast majority of job-related violence results in non-fatal, yet serious injuries, the agency reports.
OSHA notes several factors for workplace violence in healthcare, such as acute psychiatric services and geriatric long-term care settings, as well as some factors that can be controlled. Those include “poorly lit corridors, rooms, parking lots and other areas,” “lack of means of emergency communication,” and “lack of facility policies and staff training for recognizing and managing escalating hostile and assaultive behaviors from patients, clients, visitors, or staff.”
Hospital managers should implement a written program for workplace violence prevention, which “should have clear goals and objectives for preventing workplace violence,” OSHA says. The document includes detailed advice on how to implement the program.
The updated guidelines are available online at http://tinyurl.com/ohwgnoe.