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How Can Violence Against Nurses Be Prevented?


Workplace violence is common throughout the United States, but violence against nurses is often far from public discourse. Nurses and other health care workers are often seen as having the upper hand because they control medical care and work in busy offices or hospitals. However, workplace violence for nurses is very real. Violence against nurses can be prevented if you understand how it occurs, how state and federal agencies handle workplace violence, and how to educate your staff in the hopes of prevention.

How is Workplace Violence Categorized?

Workplace violence falls into one of four categories:

  • Type 1: Violence involving criminal intent where the offender does not have a relationship with the nurse, employee, hospital, or business.
  • Type 2: Involves an established relationship between the business or caregiver and the patient. In these cases, violence most often occurs when services are rendered.
  • Type 3: Involves violence among workers, including threats between employees.
  • Type 4: Involves interpersonal or romantic relationships. The offender often has a relationship with the victim but not with the business or health care agency.

Since workplace violence involves a victim’s employer, any injuries and subsequent recovery expenses are covered under the employer’s Workers’ Compensation policy.

How is Workplace Violence Handled in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania offers guidelines to help prevent workplace violence. The state of Pennsylvania can investigate crimes committed in the workplace, but they often defer to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) when fining or sanctioning offending businesses.

For example, a home health agency in York, Pennsylvania was fined heavily by OSHA after it failed to take reports of sexual violence by one of its clients seriously. A home health care aide was assaulted in the offending client’s home, and OSHA penalized the business for not managing the threat properly.

State law, however, broadly requires businesses to provide a safe and healthy environment for employees and customers. If a business in Pennsylvania needs guidance, it can refer to the state’s guidelines for implementing an employee violence prevention program. While it is not mandatory, a workplace violence prevention class and yearly refresher should be implemented as soon as possible.

How Can Health Care Providers Prevent Violence Against Nurses?

Medical facilities or businesses can use these tactics to reduce workplace violence:

  • Properly train and educate staff members: Inform staff members about workplace violence and how to handle it.
  • Add any incidents of violence to daily reports: This will inform nurses and medical practitioners.
  • Audit any gaps: Audit gaps in facility or workplace safety.
  • Make reporting of workplace violence easy: Provide simple, secure, and transparent procedures.

If violence occurs, nurses or other employees should be allowed to file a Workers’ Compensation claim for their injuries and recovery. Furthermore, the business should repeat the steps listed above to help prevent workplace violence in the future.

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Gross & Kenny, LLP Help Health Care Workers Suffering from Workplace Violence

Workplace violence is a serious matter and can lead to injuries. Contact one of our skilled Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Gross & Kenny, LLP if you believe your injuries were caused due to workplace violence. Call us at 267-589-0090 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania.

A Message to Our Clients About Coronavirus COVID-19:
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A Message to Our Clients About Coronavirus COVID-19:

At Gross & Kenny, LLP we view the safety and well-being of our clients, staff and business partners as our highest priority.

The situation regarding the COVID-19 virus is continually changing, and we are following all recommended guidelines to stay healthy.

Currently, our law firm is remaining open to serve your legal needs. If you were working light duty or modified duty as a result of a work injury in Pennsylvania and were recently laid off or terminated from your job due to the Coronavirus you may be entitled to weekly workers' compensation checks for lost wages moving forward. Contact us to find out . We are open and ready to assist.

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Should you have any concerns regarding an upcoming meeting with us, please contact us online or call (215) 512-1500.

We are continuing to fight on behalf of our clients and that we are all able to handle things even if mandated by the government that we work remotely.

Thank you and take care.