Risk Management Tools & Resources


The Five Essential Elements of a Violence Prevention Program

Violence Prevention Program

In 2015, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) released an updated version of its Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care and Social Service Workers. In these guidelines, OSHA offered five major elements of an effective workplace violence prevention program, which are as follows:

  1. Management commitment and employee involvement. Teamwork is essential in a crisis situation. A well-trained team needs to be in place before an incident occurs so they are able to execute the plan effectively when needed.
  2. Worksite analysis. Worksite analysis consists of a methodical evaluation of the hazards within your environment. This can include hazards related to human factors as well as your physical space. Every facility has a unique set of hazards that should be addressed. Simply put, ask yourself “Where am I vulnerable?”
  3. Hazard prevention and control. After the worksite analysis is completed, the team should review the information and develop a response plan for the areas of risk exposure. The plan might include fixing a broken lock, staffing changes, installation of video monitoring or metal detectors, policy development, education, implementation of drills, or even workflow modification. Each facility is different; what works for one might not be appropriate for another.
  4. Safety and health training. All staff should be properly trained on the security measures developed for your facility. Staff members need to be familiar with their roles and have an opportunity to practice. Table top drills have some value in educating your staff initially, but physically practicing with drill activity is where the most value lies. Your goal is to save lives, and you need everyone to be prepared.
  5. Recordkeeping and program evaluation. Recordkeeping is an essential element of any business. Accurate recordkeeping allows you to stay on top of the issues that are most relevant to your healthcare organization. Whether it is incident reports, training history, or drill records, you need to have an accurate pulse on your facility to properly plan for the safety of your patients, visitors, and staff. Program evaluation should be incorporated into the plan to identify areas for improvement, as well as the things you are doing well.1

Although healthcare workers cannot always anticipate violence, they may take comfort in knowing that a well-designed prevention plan is in place. As the ECRI Institute explains, “It is impossible to eliminate workplace violence in healthcare settings; however, there are ways to reduce the potential for violent occurrences and minimize the impact of any violent situation that may arise.”2

1 U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (2015). Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care & Social Service Workers. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3148.pdf

2 ECRI Institute. (2011, March). Violence in healthcare facilities. Healthcare Risk Control, 2.

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