Staff Safety: Understanding the Challenges of Workplace Violence

Healthcare workers experience some of the highest rates of workplace violence of any industry.

With such a large percentage of healthcare workers experiencing workplace violence, staff safety is a major concern to staff and administrators alike.  Changes in healthcare, Medicaid, and technology mean there are many obstacles to overcome, and staff need to feel confident that help is available whenever it’s needed.

staff duress for staff safety RTLSAccording to OSHA, there are many risk factors that vary by healthcare setting, but there are some common factors that contribute to workplace violence:

  • No emergency communication system in place
  • Lifting, moving, and transporting patients
  • Working alone
  • Poor environmental designs that may block vision or escape routes
  • Poor lighting in hallways or exterior areas
  • Working in neighborhoods with high crime rates
  • Inadequate security staff
  • Unrestricted public access

Workplace violence comes at a high cost as it typically involves things like paid leave, medical treatment or legal fees.  There are also some less obvious costs such as stress and fatigue for staff, lower employee engagement which can result in poor outcomes, and a high employee turnover.   With all these factors, why not create an environment that protects staff and reduces the costs involved with workplace violence?  There are many solutions out there, but many are costly without proven results.

Helpful Staff Safety Options:

  • A complete safety communication system that includes a staff duress button worn by staff that sends alarms and alerts to nurse stations, mobile devices, and security consoles.
  • Prevention Programs: a comprehensive program with safety training, work site analysis, record keeping, and hazard identification can help tremendously when management and team members are committed and participate

When you understand the challenges that staff can face, you can better understand how to come up with a solution that will make them feel safe and protected while they are at work.

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