Workplace Violence in Healthcare, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

The history of workplace violence in healthcare has always been present, yet the prevalence only came to light after the 2011 – 2018 OSHA all industry study on workplace violence. The disturbing fact is that of all industries reporting workplace violence events, healthcare reported 73% of the entire study cases. An even more disturbing fact is, that the surveying teams found that events had not fully been reported or tracked. Therefore the 73% number is most likely much higher. From 2018 through 2019, workplace violence events had risen by another 23% from year to year. An even more disturbing trend is that negative outcomes from workplace violence events rose 238% over the last seven months. We are obviously going in the wrong direction, but that can change.

Workplace violence prevention is not just a plan, risk committee, training, or environmental design. Workplace violence mitigation is an entire process culminating all the topics into a programmatic approach to reducing the negative outcomes. There is a trap many fall prey to in thinking the goal is to stop workplace violence as a goal. That is not an achievable goal, as we have no control over the person. However, we can significantly reduce the negative impacts through effective planning, de-escalation training, security by environmental design, and other training sessions.

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