Workplace violence is a serious concern for everyone, no matter the type of business or the position held. In fact, workplace homicide continues to be the fourth leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States and the leading cause of death for women in the workplace. What can be classified as workplace violence? According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), it is any act or threat of physical assault, harassment, intimidation, verbal abuse or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs in the workplace. Preparing ahead of time and arming yourself with knowledge will help you stay safe and mitigate threats. Consider how you would answer the following questions as you review safety measures in your work environment.
- Are name tags or ID cards required for workers to access your office? Do they omit personal information such as last name?
- Is a limited amount of cash kept on hand?
- Is the patient waiting area visible to workers?
- Are waiting areas and work areas free from objects that could be used as weapons?
- Is furniture in waiting areas and work areas arranged to prevent entrapment of workers?
- Are the facility corridors, rooms and parking lots well lit?
- Do you have a means of emergency communication?
- Could someone hear a worker who calls for help?
- Are waiting times for patients kept short to reduce frustration?
- Can exit doors be opened only from the inside to prevent unauthorized access?
- Is your office in a high crime location?
A violence prevention program must include management and employee participation. It is extremely important to be proactive before incidents occur. Report anything suspicious to your Safety Officer or management. Oftentimes, our instincts are right! MedTrainer has an extensive workplace violence prevention course available and also you can track any workplace violence incidents within MedTrainer. To take a look at how MedTrainer can help you prevent workplace violence sign up for a FREE 14 day trial here. This year, OSHA published updates to the 1996 and 2004 voluntary guidelines for preventing workplace violence for healthcare and social service workers.