Safety

Protecting ED staff members from violence

Hospital Safety Insider, October 14, 2010

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In an atmosphere shrouded in uncertainty, there is one indisputable fact regarding hospital security: ED workers and behavioral health workers are the most at risk in the entire building when it comes to violent situations.

In 2007, the majority of assaults (59%) occurred in the healthcare and social assistance industry, according to a recent report by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The most common victims of assault were nurses’ aides, orderlies, and attendants. The number of assaults on healthcare workers increased from 9,510 in 2005 to 9,950 in 2007.

Drug- or alcohol-related visits to the ED climbed from 1.6 million in 2005 to nearly 2 million in 2008, according to statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Furthermore, the number of drug or alcohol visits resulting in violence jumped from 16,277 in 2006 to 21,406 in 2008.

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