The rate of violence directed at healthcare and social workers is up to 12 times higher than other industries and lawmakers are calling for employers to develop and implement workplace violence prevention plans to protect employees from injury. Last fall, a bill was introduced to compel OSHA to create an enforceable standard to ensure employers are taking the risks that healthcare and social workers face seriously, so that employees in frontline care positions do not get injured at work.
Studies show that the frequency and severity of violent attacks from patients and their families against healthcare and social workers can be drastically reduced through comprehensive workplace violence prevention programs. However, as it stands, 75 percent of the nearly 25,000 workplace assaults reported annually are directed at healthcare employees, numbers that are likely much higher as reporting is voluntary. Employees in these industries are four times as likely to be victimized and the injuries they sustain are four times more likely to cause health care workers to miss work.
One nurse reporting said she’s been “bitten, kicked, punched, shoved, scratched and spat upon, she has been bullied, called names, and even has had her life threatened” in the course of her work. Violence directed at healthcare and social workers can not only result in physical injury, but also emotional trauma that can be costly to a worker who sometimes incurs medical bills, lost wages and suffers ongoing pain and anxiety in the wake of an attack.
Until employers mitigate the risks to their employees by implementing workplace violence prevention plans, the problem will continue to result in injury to healthcare and social workers. If you have been injured at work, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Contact the Des Moines workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyers of Stoltze & Stoltze PLC for immediate assistance today at 515-244-1473.