Specifically, the bill would require employers in those industries to develop workplace-specific plans to prevent OSHA workplace violence.
What is OSHA Workplace Violence?
Many people may not associate workplace violence with OSHA. In a healthcare setting, they are likely more familiar with its personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements or laboratory standards. OSHA defines workplace violence as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at work.”
Various factors can trigger workplace violence, including domestic incidents, intimidation, and mental health issues. As a result, threats of workplace violence can come from nearly any source – intruders, domestic partners, family members, co-workers, or even patients.
Healthcare workers are one category of employees identified by OSHA as being at greater risk of workplace violence. In addition to individual factors, OSHA has identified the following broader risks.
Patient, Client, and Setting-Related Risk Factors
- Working directly with people who have a history of violence, abuse drugs or alcohol, gang members, and relatives of patients or clients
- Transporting patients and clients
- Working alone in a facility or patients’ homes
- Poor environmental design of the workplace that may block employees’ vision or interfere with their escape from a violent incident
- Poorly lit corridors, rooms, parking lots, and other areas
- Lack of means of emergency communication
- Prevalence of firearms, knives, and other weapons among patients and their families and friends
- Working in neighborhoods with high crime rates