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Risk Factors for Workplace Violence

According to OSHA, some of the risk factors for workplace violence in a healthcare setting include:
  • Prevalence of handguns and other weapons among patients, their families, or friends
  • Increasing use of hospitals by the criminal justice system for criminal holds and the care of acutely disturbed, violent individuals
  • Increasing number of acute and chronically mentally ill patients being released from hospitals without follow-up care, who now have the right to refuse medicine and who can no longer be hospitalized involuntarily unless they pose a threat to themselves or others
  • Availability of drugs and money at hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies, making them likely robbery targets
  • Unrestricted movement of the public in clinics and hospitals
  • Presence of gang members, drug/alcohol abusers, trauma patients, distraught family members
  • Low staffing levels during times of increased activity such as meal and visiting times, transporting of patients
  • Isolated work with clients during exams or treatment
  • Solo work, often in remote locations, high crime settings with no back-up or means of obtaining assistance such as communication devices or alarm systems
  • Lack of training in recognizing and managing escalating hostile and aggressive behavior
  • Poorly-lit parking areas