Health Care Workers at Risk for Violence

October 31, 2019

Health care workers face significant risks of job-related violence. One out of four nurses are assaulted at work, according to the American Nurses Association (ANA). Recent surveys show that violence against nurses, ambulance crews, and other workers in the health care and social services industries is on the rise. Those who have been injured due to violent assaults in the workplace may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Rules Against Violence in the Workplace

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines workplace violence as violent acts directed toward persons at work or on duty. Depending on the setting in which they work, those in the health care industry face various violence-related hazards, such as transporting patients, working with people who have a history of violence or mental illness, and working in poorly lit or high-crime areas.

These workers face a much higher risk of being assaulted than other private sector employees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 70 to 74 percent of all workplace assaults between 2011 and 2013 occurred in health care and social service settings. In 2013 alone, 27 out of 100 fatalities in the health care and social service industries were due to workplace violence, according to the BLS.

Preventing Workplace Violence in the Health Care Industry

Currently, there is no Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard pertaining to workplace violence. However, in 2015, the administration released updated guidelines for violence prevention, in response to the increased incidents of violence against health care workers in recent years. The guidelines seek to reduce workplace violence by encouraging employers to develop and implement violence prevention programs, which include:

  • Management commitment and employee participation: Both managers and employees should be involved in the creation and implementation of the program. Leaders in the organization should set a good example by endorsing and showing commitment to the program.
  • Worksite analysis: Workers and employers should work together to identify and assess workplace hazards. Their analysis may then be used to identify the appropriate methods of hazard mitigation and prevention.
  • Hazard prevention and control: Employers should implement appropriate methods of hazard mitigation and prevention in the workplace and follow up to ensure that they are being done properly. They should also follow up to see if the control options need to be improved or updated.
  • Safety and health training: Workers should be aware of the potential hazards of the workplace and how to protect themselves. Training is an important aspect of any effective violence prevention program.
  • Recordkeeping and program evaluation: Keeping a record of any injuriesillnesses, incidents, hazards, assaults, corrective actions, patient histories, and training can help to identify trends, evaluate hazard control methods, and develop further solutions. Employers must also comply with OSHA and state requirements for recording and reporting workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Represent Health Care Workers Injured Due to Workplace Violence

If you were assaulted on the job or otherwise subjected to workplace violence, contact a Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyer at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. You may be eligible for several types of workers’ compensation benefits, including payment for medical expenses and missed time from work. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 888-PITAW.

Located in PhiladelphiaBensalemLansdowne, and Reading, we represent injured workers in Berks CountyBucks CountyChester CountyDelaware CountyMontgomery CountyPhiladelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania, including those in the communities of AbingtonAmblerArdmoreBala CynwydBensalemClifton HeightsCrum LynneDarbyDowningtownDoylestownDrexel HillEssingtonFolcroftGlenoldenHaverfordHavertownHolmesKutztownLansdowneMediaMerion StationMortonNarberth,NorristownNorwoodPhiladelphiaProspect ParkQuakertownReading,RoxboroughSharon HillUpper DarbyWest Chester, and Wynnewood.