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Healthcare Settings are not exempt from Workplace Violence

No healthcare setting is immune from the trend of workplace violence. Medical practices should be aware of this trend to ensure they are in compliance with OSHA guidelines and to help protect their employees.

A recent Gallup Poll conducted on the topic of honesty and ethics in professions found nurses to be the most ethical and honest professionals, followed by pharmacists and physicians. Therefore, it is surprising to find that nurses, along with other healthcare workers, suffer considerably from workplace violence. 

Workplace violence encompasses physical assaults and threats of harm arising from patients, patient families, co-workers and visitors in a healthcare setting. 

According to OSHA reports, 70 to 74 percent of non-fatal injuries arise from workplace assaults occurring in healthcare and social service settings. Unfortunately, the violence is not limited to physical attacks; it also includes emotional, sexual and verbal abuse which can often go unreported.

While the OSHA report is geared toward hospitals, residential/nonresidential treatment facilities, and field work, medical offices and ambulatory centers have similar exposures. Many examples have been illustrated surrounding the topic of physician practices experiencing violent incidents.

No healthcare setting is immune from this trend. Physician practices should be aware of the new OSHA guidelines to not only ensure that they are in compliance and reduce the likelihood of an OSHA violation, but to also protect their employees.

The OSHA guidelines address the impact of violence and provide checklists to assist in the identification, analysis, control and administration of implementing a safe workplace program.

For more information on workplace violence and how you can implement a safe workplace program, check out OSHA’s publication:  Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers.”

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