OSHA reflections: Workplace violence directed toward healthcare workers has increased over the last few years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It has been attributed to dementia, delirium, drug and/or alcohol abuse and withdrawal, mental illness, trauma, facility location, and specific facility services. These findings and statistics have led OSHA to work toward rulemaking on a workplace violence standard for the healthcare industry.
OSHA has cited employers under the General Duty Clause when hazardous conditions or activities that cause, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to employees have not been abated. Recent citations have seen penalties of more than $15,000.
Suitable strategies to avert workplace violence include performing periodic assessments, soliciting employee feedback, implementing work practice and engineering controls, developing policies, training employees, and investigating incidents thoroughly.