Workplace Violence in Healthcare: All About the New Cal/OSHA Rules

By March 15, 2017 Workplace Violence

healthcare safety

Violence in healthcare facilities is a growing and an alarmingly acute problem, across the US, and, indeed, across the world.

The Problem of Workplace Violence in Hospitals

  • Violent crime rate per 100 U.S. hospital beds rose 25%, from 2.0 incidents in 2012 to 2.5 incidents in 2013.
  • Assault rate increased from 10.7 to 11.1 (per 100 U.S. hospital beds).
  • Rate of disorderly conduct incidents jumped, from 28 per 100 hospital beds in 2012 to 39.2 (40%) in 2013.
  • Healthcare workers are 16 times more likely to experience violence than other service workers.
  • More than half of healthcare workers have experienced at least one incident of physical or psychological violence during their professional lifetime.
  • In the US, assaults against healthcare workers account for nearly 70% of nonfatal injuries from occupational violence.
  • Among healthcare workers, nurses and patient care assistants (PCAs) experience the highest rates of violence, with emergency room nurses the most endangered.
  • Hospitals are magnets for conflicts: pain, stress, helplessness, difficulties in communication, chemical dependencies, different cultural norms, and many other factors – all collide, sometimes with destructive results
  • Conflicts have a distinct cultural, social, and organizational background that needs to be managed through a process (no instant solutions).
  • The economic aspects of conflicts in healthcare and of their mitigation are not always clear to management and staff
  • Staff often knows all about setting expectations (informing patients/family of what is going on, how long it may take and why it may take that long), but they don’t know how to do it in practice
  • Staff improvises with a high level of uncertainty
  • The result – confusion and difficulties handling conflicts

The Consequences of Workplace Violence in Healthcare Facilities

The Impact of Workplace Violence on Employees

  • Physical injury, disability, chronic pain, and muscle tension, loss of sleep, nightmares, and flashbacks, short-term and long-term emotional reactions, including anger, sadness, frustration, anxiety, irritability, apathy, self-blame, job dissatisfaction, decreased feelings of safety, and fear of future assaults, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those that are suffering ptsd from workplace injuries caused by this violence are having to go to lawyers for help getting compensation for what’s happened to them.
  • The consequences of workplace violence often persist long after a violent event, affecting quality of life sometimes for years after the event

The Cost for Employers

  • Increased turnover, absenteeism, medical and psychological care, property damage, increased security, litigation, increased workers’ compensation, job dissatisfaction, and decreased morale.
  • “Conservative estimates put the cost (of violence in healthcare facilities) at $4.3 billion annually, or about $250,000 per incident.”
  • “Healthcare organizations spend nearly $5.50/ per employee on prevention of workplace violence”
  • Damage to reputation


New Cal/OSHA General Industry Safety Order

The persistent increase in workplace violence incidents at health care facilities prompted a new Cal/OSHA General Industry Safety Order titled “Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care” (Standard), codified at Section 3342 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations.

This new order became effective January 2017 and requires healthcare facilities to establish, implement, and maintain an effective written workplace violence prevention plan.

As a employer, you need to comply with this order; TAL Global can help you do that; furthermore, we can help you equip your staff with a new set of effective tools that may help them de-escalate conflicts and reduce the frequency and severity of workplace violence incidents.

At the end of our 1-day Workplace Violence Prevention session, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the difference between incidental and targeted violence, and how they can impact healthcare settings differently
  2. Gain knowledge regarding security challenges in a healthcare facility setting
  3. Understand the components of an effective workplace violence program and how it can help increase safety and security
  4. Master a set of new tools called “Assertive Honoring” that will help them deal more effectively with evolving and erupting workplace conflicts.

Recently, TAL Global, in cooperation with Arent Fox LLP, a Los Angeles-based full-service law firm, TAL Global conducted a New Cal/OSHA Workplace Violence Rules for Health Care Facilities webinar.

You can gain valuable additional information about the new Cal/OSHA order and how to comply with it, thereby improving your facility’s safety and security situation, by clicking on the links below:

Please contact us about your facility and the particular challenges you face.

© TAL Global, 2019