OSHA Releases Update to Preventing Workplace Violence Guidelines

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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released an update to its Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers that highlights the most effective ways to reduce the risk of violence in various healthcare and social service settings. The complete report from OSHA is available at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3148.pdf.

The revised guidelines update OSHA’s 1996 and 2004 guidelines and incorporate research in the last decade into the causes, risk factors, and preventive measures of workplace violence in healthcare and social service settings. OSHA found that healthcare and social service workers are almost four times as likely to be injured as a result of workplace violence than the average private sector worker.

OSHA defines workplace violence as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” Workplace violence can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide. Nearly 2 million American workers report being victims of workplace violence each year. Unfortunately, many more cases go unreported.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), of the 4,547 fatal workplace injuries occurring in the United States in 2010, 506 were workplace homicides. Homicide is the leading cause of death for women in the workplace. More information is available on OSHA’s Workplace Violence Web page at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/index.html.

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