How to Keep Healthcare Employees Safe

Healthcare industry workers are unfortunately at increased risk of falling victim to workplace violence (WPV). Healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics, and assisted living facilities are open to the public, so staff are more likely to come in contact with those who have violent tendencies or are abusing substances. This puts healthcare staff members more at risk than workers in other professions.

Possible warning signs

In terms of workplace violence, we will define violent behavior as actions that include physical altercations, harassment, intimidation, verbal abuse or disturbing behavior. According to the Sullivan Group, “Nearly every healthcare worker has been a victim or knows a coworker who has been a victim of workplace violence.”

Although it is not possible to predict with 100 percent certainty if a visitor or patient will be violent, there are warning signs that can help workers identify potential risks. When healthcare employees know and recognize external threats, they can better mitigate risky situations or individuals.

Risk factors to consider:

● Facility located in high-crime area
● Prevalence of weapons among patients, visitors or co-workers
● Caring for disturbed and intoxicated persons (in a hospital or healthcare setting)
● Availability of drugs, money, and valuable items at healthcare facilities
● Restricted lighting - including parking garages, walkways or public areas
● Physical interior designs conducive to workplace violence

How to prevent harmful behavior

Minimizing the opportunity for workplace violence depends upon employers developing a strong safety and health program. Such a program would include management commitment, employee participation, hazard identification and prevention, safety and health training, control, and reporting.

The Falcon Consulting Group has developed an extensive workplace violence training program, specifically with the healthcare industry in mind. This program is flexible and can expand to include a review of policies, procedures, conducive environments, and the recommendations of preventative measures. This includes identifying and addressing/diffusing aggressive behaviors, mapping of facility for areas of vulnerability and concealment, as well as active shooter preparation.

If you have any questions about workplace violence prevention, contact The Falcon Consulting Group at 800-636-4870 or Here