Health Care Worker Violence Prevention Program Tips

A written program for job safety and security, incorporated into the organization's overall safety and health program, offers an effective approach for larger organizations. In smaller establishments, the program does not need to be written or heavily documented to be satisfactory.

What is needed are clear goals and objectives to prevent workplace violence suitable for the size and complexity of the workplace operation and adaptable to specific situations in each establishment. Employers should communicate information about the prevention program and startup date to all employees.

At a minimum, workplace violence prevention programs should:

  • Create and disseminate a clear policy of zero tolerance for workplace violence, verbal and nonverbal threats, and related actions. Ensure that managers, supervisors, coworkers, clients, patients, and visitors know about this policy.
  • Ensure that no employee who reports or experiences workplace violence faces reprisals.
  • Encourage employees to promptly report incidents and suggest ways to reduce or eliminate risks. Require records of incidents to assess risk and measure progress.
  • Outline a comprehensive plan for maintaining security in the workplace. This includes establishing a liaison with law enforcement representatives and others who can help identify ways to prevent and mitigate workplace violence.
  • Assign responsibility and authority for the program to individuals or teams with appropriate training and skills. Ensure that adequate resources are available for this effort and that the team or responsible individuals develop expertise on workplace violence prevention in health care and social services.
  • Affirm management commitment to a worker-supportive environment that places as much importance on employee safety and health as on serving the patient or client.
  • Set up a company briefing as part of the initial effort to address issues such as preserving safety, supporting affected employees and facilitating recovery.

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