VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE: OSHA
There is always a chance that violent acts can come into our life. It can happen at any time. It can happen in any place. Violence can happen:
Each day we hear sad and terrible stories about violence in the home, child abuse, road rage, gun shots in schools, bombs and germs in the mail, terrorism and other acts of violence.
Nursing assistants and all other people must learn about the warning signs of violence. They must also know how to act if it occurs. This will help us to stay safe and without any injuries or death while we are doing our job. It also saves the lives of our patients, visitors and the other people that we work with.
This class will teach you how to:
WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN IN HEALTHCARE?
Healthcare is at MORE risk than most other work places for a couple of reasons. Violence happens more often if a person:
We take care of these kinds of patients. Many of our patients have mental problems. Some may be taking a medicine with side effects that can lead a person to commit violent acts. Still others may have a physical problem, or disease, that makes them more violent than they would be without this disease or disorder. For example, a patient with a mental problem may try to kill themselves or the members of their family. Before they had this mental problem, they never even would have thought about such a terrible act.
The danger is also greater than other places of work because we let patients, visitors, husbands, wives and total strangers pass through our doors when we know little or nothing about the person and their past. It is very possible that one of our visitors has shot people where they worked just days before they came to our hospital or nursing home.
People in these groups are known to sometimes be violent:
OSHA: Workplace Violence
The United States and OSHA say that violence, “in its most extreme form, homicide, is the second leading cause of fatal occupational injury in the United States. Nearly 1,000 workers are murdered, and 1.5 million are assaulted in the workplace each year. … there were 709 workplace homicides in 1998, accounting for 12% of the total 6,026 fatal work injuries in the United States” (OSHA, 2002, pg 1)
OSHA says that all hospitals and nursing homes must:
WHAT KINDS OF PEOPLE MAY BE VIOLENT?
People with these things may be violent:
WAYS TO PREVENT VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE
Hospitals and nursing homes can prevent violence and injuries at work by providing these things:
THE WARNING SIGNS OF VIOLENCE
Learning about the warning signs of violence helps us to be able to act correctly when one of these signs is seen.
Here are some of the warning signs that people may show:
THINGS YOU MUST DO IF VIOLENCE HAPPENS AT WORK
You must act right away if violence may happen. You must also act right away if it has already started. You must act in the right way; and you must act quickly. You can prevent injury when you act in the right way and you act quickly.
The first thing that you must do is call for help. Call for help if you can not control the situation alone and in a very fast way.
If it gets out of your control, call for help immediately and:
OTHER ACTS OF VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE
In addition to very direct physical attacks with no weapon, there can also be other violent acts that can happen in the places we work. Some of these acts can include:
DEALING WITH THESE ACTS OF VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE
People With Knives and Guns
Acts of Bioterrorism
OTHER RULES FOR THE WORKPLACE AND YOUR COMMUNITY
In our daily lives, especially after the tragic events of 9-11, you should:
Be aware of your surroundings.
We must look and listen at all times. We must look and listen wherever we are and wherever we go. If anything, anything at all, looks unusual or suspicious, report it immediately to the correct person.
For example, if you get on an elevator in your hospital or nursing home and see a lunch bag on the floor of the elevator, do NOT touch it. IMMEDIATELY notify your supervisor or the safety office. This lunch bag is unusual. You do not normally expect to see a lunch bag on the floor of an elevator.
Another example involves hearing something unusual. If you hear two people, who are not employees, whispering in your hospital lobby, report it. If you hear an unusual noise in the basement during the night time hours, report it. The whispering people and the noises are both unusual. It is possible that nothing at all is wrong, but the safest thing to do is to get an expert to make that decision, not you. If you are not sure that things are safe, report your suspicions.
Follow Your Policies and Procedures
Your hospital or nursing home has policies and procedures for fires, bomb threats, violent acts and all other emergencies. These policies and procedures must be followed ALL the time WITHOUT any changes.
One of the best ways to insure your safety and the safety of your patients and visitors is to follow these procedures when an emergency occurs.
In your community, it is necessary to follow these procedures as well. For example, if you see an actual or possible act of violence or terrorism you must call 911 for the police.
If you see a fire, you call the fire department or 911, as established in your living area. If you see something suspicious or unusual in the airport, or anywhere in your community, you should also report it to the police or the law enforcement body in charge of the area.
Violence can happen anywhere and at anytime. These dangers are present in all places of work, including in hospitals and nursing homes.
Nursing assistants and all other people who work in healthcare must know about workplace violence, its signs and the proper way to act if violence occurs. All of this knowledge makes our place of work a much safer place.
Berman, Audrey, Shirlee Snyder, Barbara Kozier and Glenora Erb. (2010).
Kozier & Erb's Fundamentals of Nursing: Concepts, Process, and Practice. 8th
Edition. Pearson Prentice Hall.
TAKE THE TEST