Safety

Editor’s choice: Studying the aftermath of an employee shooting

OSHA Healthcare Connection, June 19, 2012

On the evening of February 22, Victor Valcarcel, an employee at the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain, CT, shot two of his supervisors following a “disciplinary dispute,” according to a hospital spokesperson. Both victims remained in serious but stable condition, but the incident served as a reminder that workplace violence is not limited to patients or visitors.

Bryan Warren, CHPA, CPO-I, president of the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety in Glendale Heights, IL, in the May issue of Healthcare Security Alert offered answers on workplace violence involving employees. Here is an excerpt.

Q: How can hospitals prepare for this type of employee-on-employee violence?

A: I guess the analogy I can give you is look to one of the primary indications with infant abductions. Infant abductions are something we always have to be on guard for and always have to be prepared for, and for many years we’ve referred to a typical abductor profile. Here’s the problem: What if someone falls outside the typical profile? Are you looking at everyone equally, or are you focusing too much on the typical profile and allowing the person that doesn’t meet it to get out with the child?

We need to look at workplace violence in the sense that it’s not necessarily going to be that upset behavioral patient, that psychiatric patient, that intoxicated patient, or that upset family member. It could also be that fellow worker or that supervisor or contractor. I think one of the big things that needs to be stressed is workplace violence can take many different forms, and we need to take an all-hazards approach as far as education and preparation for all of our staff.

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