Safety

The dangers of violence are still here: Realities, risks, and prevention

Healthcare Life Safety Compliance, July 15, 2021

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Healthcare Life Safety Compliance.

by Brian Ward

Violence against healthcare workers still persists, despite many efforts to combat it. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the incidence of violence-related healthcare worker injuries has steadily increased for at least a decade. And in 2018, healthcare and social service workers were five times more likely to experience workplace violence (WPV) than all other workers—comprising 73% of all nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work.

“Based on my own experience with our client base, I believe workplace violence against healthcare workers has continued its upward trend,” says Tom Smith, CHPA, CPP, owner of Healthcare Security Consultants. That said, he notes that some of the restrictions brought on by the 2020 pandemic might have temporarily lowered WPV cases.

“Certain types of incidents were impacted by the visiting restrictions and physical security improvements healthcare facilities (HCF) put in place as part of their COVID plans,” Smith adds. “I believe we will see a reduction in incidents in 2020 due to the visitor restrictions that were implemented and reduced number of ED [emergency department] patients and visitors. The facilities I visited during 2020 had seen a reduction in ED and outpatient visits. As COVID cases continue to fall off, I believe the rates of WPV incidents will continue at or above their previous rates.”

On the other hand, healthcare security leaders in many U.S. hospitals have reported a significant increase in responding to assist with aggressive patients in the past 12 months, says Lisa Pryse Terry, CHPA, CPP, vice president of healthcare at Allied Universal.

“During the pandemic, there were increased reports of on-the-job violence on healthcare workers and physicians that were attributed to the pandemic-related staffing shortages, changes in patient population, and visitor/access restrictions. COVID-19-related abuse and/or bullying occurred in the street if the healthcare worker was dressed in scrubs,” Terry says.

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Healthcare Life Safety Compliance.

    Hospital Safety Center
  • Hospital Safety Center

    Improve compliance with hospital safety standards from The Joint Commission, OSHA, and other regulators with this...

  • Healthcare Life Safety Compliance

    Created exclusively for healthcare facility managers, plant operations professionals, and directors of engineering, this...

  • Hospital Safety Insider

    Stay on top of hospital safety requirements and best practices with our free, fast-paced weekly update.

  • Basic OSHA Compliance Manual Kit

    Total compliance has never been easier. This one convenient package contains everything you need to ensure your outpatient...

  • Basic Dental OSHA Compliance Manual Kit

    Total compliance has never been easier. This one convenient package contains everything you need to ensure your dental...

Most Popular