Sample policy on weapons and violence

An effective policy on violence and weapons in your health care facility should include the following:

A policy statement.

A definition and identification of what is prohibited.

Posting of signs or other communica- tions informing visitors that weapons are prohibited.

Signs should be posted at all facility entrances and in other strategic locations informing visitors and staff that weapons on the premises are prohibited. In fact, some states require that signs be posted if the organization prohibits weapons on its premises.

Here is an example of what to include in a posted sign:

The carrying, possession, or storage of weapons, concealed or otherwise, anywhere on these premises is strictly prohibited. Violators may be removed and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

An explanation of how to handle exemptions, if any.

A discussion of safety concerns.

Do not offer to provide security escorts for concerned employees or guests unless you are willing to honor such requests.

A statement on to do if someone violates the policy.

An outline of disciplinary actions to take if employees violate the policy.

Here is a sample policy that includes those points:

SAMPLE POLICY STATEMENT

It is the policy of XYZ Medical Center to prohibit the carrying of weapons, concealed or otherwise, on its premises.

Note: If your state permits concealed weapons, you may want to include language similar to this:

While state statutes permit residents to obtain licenses to carry concealed weapons, employers may prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons on business premises. XYZ Medical Center has an obligation to safeguard all its employees and guests, and therefore has chosen to prohibit the carrying of weapons, concealed or otherwise, on its premises.

PROCEDURE

1. All employees of XYZ Medical Center and any person coming on the premises are prohibited from carrying any dangerous weapon of any sort, concealed or otherwise, except for official purposes. Dangerous weapons include but are not limited to firearms, sharp objects, knives, heavy wooden or metal objects, explosives, or other items that could be used to harass, intimidate, or injure another individual.

2. The organization reserves the right to grant exemptions from this policy if the circumstances warrant an exemption. For example, officers of the law will be allowed to carry their weapons when escorting incarcerated individuals.

3. Signs are placed in all applicable areas of the organization to inform visitors and staff that dangerous weapons on the premises are strictly prohibited.

4. Employees are not permitted to carry weapons in any motor vehicle owned by the organization.

5. Employees with personal safety concerns (such as parking in a remote location or working alone after hours) are encouraged to discuss these concerns with their supervisors, the Human Resources Department, or the Security Department. Security escorts are provided for employees when requested.

6. Any individual observed to be in violation of this policy should be reported to the Security Department immediately. Violators will be escorted from the premises by a security officer or the police. Employees should not attempt to disarm another employee or guest.

7. Any employee violating this policy is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.