Wednesday, April 15, 2015

OSHA Updates Workplace Violence Guidance

April is National Workplace Violence Prevention Month. OSHA hopes to raise awareness by releasing updated guidance for healthcare and social service workers. In 2013, workers suffered more than 25,000 occupational assault injuries, most of which occurred in the healthcare and social services industries, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The updated guidance includes best practices on reducing the risk of violence. The guidelines are advisory in nature, informational in content and intended to help employers establish effective workplace violence prevention programs adapted to their specific worksites. They do not address issues related to patient care. According to OSHA, the guidelines are performance-oriented, and how employers implement them will vary based on the site's hazard analysis.

OSHA recommends creating a written violence prevention program that includes:
  • management commitment and worker participation, perhaps as part of a safety committee that hosts regular meetings;
  • work site analysis and hazard identification, which may include employee surveys;
  • hazard prevention and control, such as transferring patients with a history of violent behavior to a more secure facility;
  • training on topics such as managing assaultive behavior.
You can visit OSHA's Workplace Violence page for additional resources and information.