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High Risks for Healthcare Workers

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Jun 28, 2019

High Risks for Healthcare Workers

Several studies have demonstrated that healthcare workers in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living communities and other settings are at particularly high risk for workplace violence. Workplace violence can be perpetrated by coworkers and even strangers, but in the case of healthcare workers, “80 percent of serious violent incidents…were caused by interactions with patients.”[1]

According to an OSHA report, “from 2002 to 2013, incidents of serious workplace violence (those requiring days off for the injured worker to recuperate) were four times more common in healthcare than in private industry on average.”[2] Similarly, the American Nurses Association reported that, “21 percent of registered nurses and nursing students reported being physically assaulted—and over 50 percent verbally abused—in a 12-month period”[3] According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychiatric aides are at highest risk for workplace violence within this high risk group: “(f)or psychiatric aides, the rate is 69 times higher than the national rate of violence in the workplace, and for psychiatric technicians it is 38 times higher.”[4]

Workplace violence remains underreported, partially due “to a health care culture that is resistant to the belief that providers are at risk for patient-initiated violence and to a complacency in thinking that violence is “part of the job.”[5] While healthcare workers are often reluctant to report incidents of workplace violence since they feel responsible for their patients, it is important that they report the incidents for several reasons. First, reporting ensures that employers have enough information about incidents to enact safety measures. Second, if a healthcare worker needs treatment, whether physical or psychological, either immediately or down the line, it is important that the employer has been notified of the violent incident. This way the healthcare worker can receive compensation for any lost time and the necessary medical treatment they need.

If you are a healthcare worker and have a work-related injury or illness, contact the law office of Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn for your free consultation. 



[1] https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3826.pdf

[2] https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3826.pdf

[3] American Nurses Association. 2014. American Nurses Association Health Risk Appraisal (HRA): Preliminary Findings October 2013–October 2014.

[4] https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2015/article/a-look-at-violence-in-the-workplace-against-psychiatric-aides-and-psychiatric-technicians.htm

[5] Phillips, James Patrick, “Workplace Violence against Health Care Workers in the United States” New England Journal of Medicine · April 2016