Health care workers in the US are nearly four times more likely to be injured and require time away from work as a result of workplace violence (OSHA, 2015). Addressing workplace violence is a priority for WSHA, our member hospitals and regional partners. It is our goal to ensure health care worker safety and prevent workplace violence. This will be accomplished through strong leadership commitment, collaboration, standardization of safety practices and the deployment of tools and resources to support hospitals and health care workers advance safety at the local level.
In 2019, Washington’s legislature enacted HB 1931 to a help address workplace violence in hospitals and other health care settings. WSHA is working to support members in implementing the new law (RCW 49.19). The law requires hospitals to:
- Have a committee to address workplace violence.
- Develop and implement a plan to address workplace violence.
- Provide violence prevention training.
The resources below are intended to help hospitals address workplace violence and comply with the new law.
While work is underway to develop new tools and resources for hospitals to address workplace violence there are key steps hospitals can take now:
- Participate in WSHA’s Worker Safety Advisory Group
- Leverage the current Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS) workplace violence prevention toolkit
- For Washington hospitals, review WSHA’s bulletin on our state’s new law (RCW 49.19) and work with your team to develop a compliance strategy
- Activate and use Collective Medical’s Security and Safety Event Notification feature to ensure members of the health care team have timely access to information to help reduce the risk of violence
Workplace Violence Prevention Toolkit
OAHHS, in collaboration with other partners, produced a comprehensive toolkit to address workplace violence in 2017 and the toolkit was updated in March of 2020. We encourage hospitals to review the toolkit and leverage resources to help address workplace violence.
WSHA staff are here to help hospitals get started and use the toolkit. Often, this starts with conducting a gap analysis and identifying opportunities for improvement.
Standardized Signage to Alert Health Care Workers
Hospital staff need to be aware and take appropriate steps if a patient has threatened or committed a violent act. This said, there is no standardized assessment and signage used to identify risk and communicate the risk to hospital staff. WSHA is actively working with our members to develop a standardized sign and supporting policies to ensure hospital staff are aware of potential risks and can follow the hospitals or patient’s violence prevention plan. Anticipated release date, 4th quarter 2019.
Toolkits & Resources
WSHA has identified several external programs and resources to support hospitals in advancing workplace violence prevention.
- Alaska State: Alaska State Hospital & Nursing Home Association – Workplace Violence Legislation Toolkit (HB312), August 2018.
- Oregon State: Workplace Violence Prevention Toolkit. Comprehensive toolkit to help hospitals and health care organizations address workplace violence.
- Washington State:
- 2019 New Law Implementation Guide. Draft charter template to support hospitals in successfully implementing new requirements (HB 9131) for Safety Committees or Workplace Violence Committees.
- Sample Committee Charter. A strong charter describing roles, responsibilities and processes is helpful for meeting new legal requirements, but more importantly helping to address workplace violence. This sample charter is intended to help jumpstart the work of committees if a charter is not currently in place. Additional implementation resources will be forthcoming.
- The American Hospital Association has several great resources from national best practices and case studies to support hospital staff in addressing workplace violence.
- Collective Medical’s Security and Safety Event notification system which provides critical information to help protect members of the health care team from workplace violence.