Protecting Healthcare Workers from Workplace Violence: Updated OSHA Guidelines (Pt. 2)

April 14, 2015

Resuming Protecting Healthcare Workers from Workplace Violence: Updated OSHA Guidelines (Pt. 1), here, we will continue pointing out some of the specific changes OSHA has made to its publication, Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers.

These updates specifically pertain to violence prevention programs for hospitals and other settings in which these workers, who are so often the target of workplace violence, are employed.

Additional Guidelines for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs

While this info explains how employers can better protect healthcare workers from workplace violence, contact us for help after being hurt at work.

While this info explains how employers can better protect healthcare workers from workplace violence, contact us for help after being hurt at work.

In addition to having management commitment and employee participation, as well as regular analyses, workplace violence prevention programs should also include, according to OSHA’s updated guidelines:

  • Hazard prevention and control – Once the analysis of potential hazards or risks of workplace violence has been completed, the next step will be evaluating potential control options, selecting the most effective and feasible options and implementing them.

    Once implemented, OSHA recommends that employers conduct regular follow ups to monitor whether workplace violence prevention programs are being properly used/maintained, as well as their effectiveness (or points of ineffectiveness). This can lead to important findings regarding whether employers should consider altering, updating, expanding or otherwise improving their controls against workplace violence.

  • Training – Training and ongoing education for all employees is crucial to the proper maintenance of workplace violence prevention programs, OSHA notes.

    So it’s essential that employers provide such training, as well as the tools that employees need to identify and/or report risks for workplace violence. Notably, OSHA points out that this type of training can include “instructions to limit physical interventions in workplace altercations whenever possible.”

  • Recordkeeping and program evaluation – With this component of workplace violence prevention programs, OSHA details the various types of records that employers should keep in order to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs, as well as the real risks their workers are facing.

    Just some of these records include medical reports associated with each assault on a healthcare and/or social service worker; records regarding each reported incident of verbal abuse towards and/or aggressive behavior towards workers; and information regarding patients’ history of violence, drug abuse and/or criminal activities.

It’s important to point out that these are all recommendations from OSHA, rather than legally binding regulations or requirements. As such, it remains to be seen whether and/or how healthcare workplaces will institute these updated guidelines and, consequently, how committed they are to protecting their workers from workplace violence.

Denver Workers’ Compensation Lawyer at the Bisset Law Firm

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Category: Blog,Preventing Workplace Injuries,Workers' Compensation,Workplace Injuries,Workplace Safety,Workplace Violence