When it comes to workplace violence, the healthcare industry is a magnet for it. Violence is four times more rampant here than in any other industry. That doesn’t mean other industries are safe. Workplace homicides are increasing in every sector—nearly one out of 10 fatal workplace incidents is a homicide.
But workplace violence isn’t necessarily life-threatening. It can take the form of bullying, intimidation and assault. And the perpetrators could be co-workers, clients or patients. Employers are trying to counteract the upswing in violence by developing violence prevention plans designed to stop violence before it escalates.
If You See It, Report It
Encouraging workers to communicate their concerns, however small, is the key to curbing workplace violence. And companies must learn to take these concerns seriously. In the past, many were reluctant or slow in addressing threats. Today, more organizations are taking these threats seriously, assuming they will be carried out.
When problems are dealt with early on, managers have a better chance of solving the issues through employee assistance programs or professional counseling.
The Healthcare Industry Is Expanding its Training
As a general rule, only physicians and nurses were trained to de-escalate situations. Today, with 80 percent of violence being caused by patients, healthcare facilities have begun to recognize the need to expand training to include everyone on the healthcare team – nursing assistants, emergency personnel, psychiatric aides, etc.
Because so many more incidents are being reported—some facilities are seeing a 300 percent increase in reporting—it’s possible to analyze patterns that could identify serious problems before an incident occurs in the organization.
What Else Can Businesses Do?
OSHA does not have regulations governing workplace violence prevention, but it does have guidelines. And they are well worth considering:
- Obtain a commitment from management, which should include enacting a zero-tolerance plan with active shooter scenarios, claims tracking, and staying abreast of trends in the news.
- Safety and health training should be done with cooperation from HR. Invite local law enforcement to share their insights during active shooter training.
- Employee participation is essential, which means there can be no retaliation or discrimination for them reporting their concerns.
- Use a management team to conduct worksite analysis and implement prevention and control mechanisms. The team should develop a good working relationship with law enforcement authorities.
Seek Professional Assistance
Firms such as ALICE Training Institute can provide you and your employees with strategic response procedures that have been created to help counter violent acts. The programs can increase the chances of survival for your workplace and employees. They can also protect your brand and minimize litigation fees and fines.
ALICE is the acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuation.
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