Protecting Healthcare Workers Against Workplace ViolenceMarch 23, 2018
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently published its Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, which reveals a startling statistic. From 2011 to 2016, close to 60 hospital workers suffered fatal injuries as a result of workplace violence. In addition, the Government Accountability Office found that in 2016, healthcare workers were up to 12 times more likely to be victims of workplace violence than other workers. In response to these alarming statistics, the Health Care Workplace Violence Prevention Act was introduced, which urges the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop new standards that would require healthcare facilities to create violence prevention plans for healthcare workers.
This latest legislation, which was introduced by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and 12 other House Democrats, is similar to a law that was enacted in California in 2014, which instructed Cal/OSHA to develop a standard that would help prevent workplace violence. The law gave employers a deadline on the first of April to develop and implement plans that would keep workers and patients safe.
Multi-Pronged Approach to Workplace Safety
The bill introduced by Khanna is similar in a number of ways. First, employers would seek input from doctors, nurses, and custodial workers to create comprehensive violence prevention plans. Prevention, training, and worker participation are of the utmost importance. This bill also defines workplace violence in a way that includes threats of violence, in addition to actual physical acts of violence. Staffing is also extremely important, not only in preventing violence, but in making sure that there is a quick response if a violent incident does occur.
According to Khanna, the Health Care Workplace Violence Prevention Act will help protect doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers from violent outbursts like strangling, kicking, punching, and other attacks that can cause serious injuries and fatalities. It is unacceptable that people who come to work every day to help others are at risk of being attacked by a violent patient or family member, said Khanna.
Too many facilities are falling short when it comes to providing safe work environments, reports NNU Co-President. The following interventions can reduce hospital violence:
- Affix furniture and lighting to prevent a potential attacker from using them as weapons.
- Maintain a clear line of sight between workers while they are interacting with patients.
- Ensure that workers have easy access to panic buttons or phones in the event that they need immediate help.
- Encourage doctors, nurses, security staff, and custodial personnel to get involved in the development and implementation of the program.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Protect the Rights of Injured Healthcare Workers
If you work in the healthcare industry and have been viciously attacked by a patient or another individual while attempting to do your job, you are urged to contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. You should not have to worry about being attacked while you are providing skilled and compassionate care to a patient. Our dedicated team will fight to ensure that you receive the full benefits that you deserve and that the individual responsible for your injuries is held liable. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.