Workplace Violence

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The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines workplace violence as any physical assault, threatening behavior or verbal abuse occurring in the workplace. Violence includes overt and covert behaviors ranging in aggressiveness from verbal harassment to murder. (NIOSH 1996).

Although, there is no federal standard that requires workplace violence protections, some states have sought legislative solutions including mandatory establishment of a comprehensive prevention program for healthcare employers, as well as increased penalties for those convicted of assaults of a nurse and / or other health care personnel.

  • Requires employer run workplace violence programs; CA, CT, IL, MD, NJ, OR. NY is limited to public employers only.
  • Reporting of incidents: WA.

Only those laws designating penalties for assaults that include "nurses" are reflected below:

  • Establish or increase penalties for assault of "nurses": AL, AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, HI, ID, IL, IA, KS, LA, MI, MS, MT, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, RI, TN, VT, VA, WV and WY.

Note: Penalties apply only to mental health personnel (KS); public health personnel (MS); emergency room personnel, which includes nurses (LA)

Other approaches:

  • OH also authorizes hospitals to post warnings regarding violent behaviors.
  • HI passed a resolution urging employers to develop and implement standards of conduct and policies for managers and employees to reduce workplace bullying and promote healthful and safe work environments.

Joint Commission Standard LD.03.01.01 Leaders create and maintain a culture of safety and quality throughout the (orgnaization).
A4. Leaders develop a code of conduct that defines acceptable behavior and behaviors that undermine a culture of safety.
A5. Leaders create and implement a process for managing behaviors that undermine a culture of safety.
(Applicable to ambulatory care, critical access hospital, home care, hospital, laboratory, long term care, Medicare-Medicaid, certification-based long term care, and office-based surgery programs and behavioral health care programs.)

Learn more about workplace violence

Last updated 6/30/2014

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