Can New Policies Protect Hospital Workers from Violence?
Hospital workers are at high risk for experiencing workplace violence. These healthcare workers treat patients who are delirious, suffering from mental illnesses or who are under the influence of drugs. Workplace violence in healthcare has become a widespread problem.
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), acts of workplace violence are higher in healthcare than other industries. In fact, workers in hospitals, nursing homes and residential care suffered workplace violence rates five to twelve times higher than other jobs. Incidents in psychiatric facilities were 64 times greater than other workplaces. Workers suffer injuries from kicks, hits and random beatings.
Statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show the scale of this problem. According to the BLS, there were 11,900 incidents of violence in hospitals, 10,750 in nursing homes and another 2,070 in ambulatory care in 2014. In private healthcare facilities, there were 16,910 reports of violence.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may create universal standards to prevent workplace violence in the healthcare industry. This means all hospitals in the U.S. would be required to abide by these potential new rules. As part of the rulemaking process, OSHA will allow a public comment period and will hold a meeting on the matter early next year.
An OSHA standard might require training to handle workplace violence, response procedures, a written violence prevention policy, annual reviews, regular assessments of risks and recordkeeping on violent acts. This would allow healthcare facilities to assess risks and create internal policies for preventing or mitigating the effects of workplace violence.
Workplace Violence in Healthcare and Workers Comp
Hospitals workers harmed by acts of workplace violence may develop anxiety issues like post-traumatic stress disorder. Physical injuries are also an unfortunate possibility. These workers may be eligible to receive workers compensation or other benefits.
The Columbus workers compensation attorneys at Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC can help injured workers receive the benefits they deserve.