In the U.S., 2 million people fall victim to workplace violence each year, according to OSHA, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.¹ Commenting on violence that occurs in specific industries, the agency reported that “incidents of serious workplace violence (those requiring days off for the injured worker to recuperate) were four times more common in healthcare than in private industry.”²
Echoing that disturbing news, a New England Journal of Medicine article added the observation that “Healthcare workplace violence is an underreported, ubiquitous, and persistent problem that has been tolerated and largely ignored,” concluding that “Like all other workers, health care employees have a right to be safe on the job.”³
Watch this short clip for a full definition of Workplace Violence:
Because the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts healthcare and related industries among the fastest growing occupations over the next decade, it’s particularly important that hospitals, nursing homes, emergency clinics, primary care practices, and other healthcare facilities take decisive action now to support their employees and teach them how to prevent and effectively respond to workplace violence.
Costs are Too High for Healthcare Workers and Their Employees
In its special publication on Workplace Violence in Healthcare, OSHA notes that the workplace issues reported by healthcare workers—ranging from verbal abuse and bullying to physical assault and extreme violence—only accounts for about 70% of incidents that actually occur.⁴ That means the cost estimates associated with that violence likely under-represent the full prices employers and their staffs are paying.
Nonetheless, costs of treatment, lost wages, and emotional well-being are significant. OSHA presented one scenario in which a hospital reported that treatment and lost wages for 30 nurses on its staff who were injured in workplace violence episodes totaled more than $30,000 per person. And costs to replace just one nurse who chooses to depart the profession due to violence-influenced injuries and stress can exceed $100,000.
Certainly morale suffers in the aftermath of violence or when workplace safety is a daily question mark. And other negatives add up, too: pervasive stress, worker fatigue, job dissatisfaction, disengagement, declines in quality of care, and long-term ill effects of extreme violence—such as workplace shootings—can mean years of suffering and loss from post-traumatic stress disorders.
The Need for Training
In healthcare settings, the possible sources of violence include patients, visitors, intruders, and coworkers. Examples include verbal threats or physical attacks by patients, a distraught family member who may be abusive or even become an active shooter, gang violence in the emergency department, a domestic dispute that spills over into the workplace, or coworker bullying.
Accordingly, OSHA says that “Healthcare facilities can reduce workplace violence by following a comprehensive workplace violence prevention program.” Business leaders, healthcare administrators, security and safety professionals, and others—including the Department of Homeland Security—recognize that training is key to preventing and responding to workplace violence, and especially extreme violence threats.
Healthcare Providers, Media Partners Has Your Back
Like our original program, the Getting Real about Workplace Violence - Healthcare Version features security professional and subject matter expert Jim Sporlederwho covers awareness, recognition, and extreme violence reponse in a style manner that is both informative and reassuring.
In the 1-minute clip below, you'll see how special attention is given to the unique considerations faced by healthcare workers when something like an active shooter situation occurs in patient care areas.
A video host and content subject matter expert, James Sporleder has more than 25 years’ experience in the security industry. With a unique background in specialized captivity survival, James has trained thousands of US military personnel from some of the most elite units in the US Department of Defense. He’s worked in the corporate arena for more than 17 years, focusing on the development and implementation of specialized training programs and helping more than 50 percent of the Fortune 100 prepare for and respond to emerging challenges related to workplace violence, intimate partner violence, and extreme violence such as active shooter.