In January 2022, The Joint Commission (TJC) issued specific workplace violence prevention requirements for hospitals and healthcare facilities. …
OSHA also has issued Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers,5 notes Denise Merna Dadika, JD, an attorney with Epstein Becker Green in Newark, NJ.
Healthcare employers should review the OSHA and TJC resources when developing and reassessing workplace violence prevention programs, as well as any state requirements that may apply. Programs should include annual staff training on violence response protocols, including de-escalation techniques, response to alarm systems, use of safe rooms, escape plans, and the reporting physical or verbal violence toward healthcare workers.
“Healthcare employers have an obligation under the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s General Duty Clause to maintain a workplace ‘free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm.’ OSHA frequently cites employers for failing to take steps to prevent workplace violence, citing the General Duty Clause,” Dadika says. “Preparing and adhering to a robust workplace violence prevention program will assist employers in discharging their obligation under the General Duty Clause.”
Employees who suffer workplace injuries may seek compensation for injuries and lost wages under the employer’s workers’ compensation coverage, which generally will be the exclusive remedy available to an employee, Dadika says. However, an employee may proceed with a civil action where he or she can demonstrate their injuries were caused by an intentional wrong on the employer’s part.