Innocent people lose their lives on the job trying to protect others yet there remains little to no protection for them. In the healthcare and social services sector, violence against workers is a growing problem across the nation causing severe injuries and often resulting in death, making healthcare one of the most dangerous professions in which to work. Workplace violence is defined as “any act of violence or threat of violence, without regard to intent, that occurs at a covered facility or while a covered employee performs a covered service.”
Every day healthcare and social service workers are at risk. Due to minimal staffing and little to no protection, these workers endure physical abuse with 69% of physical assaults and 71% of non-physical assaults reported in the sector. In 2016, the Government of Accountability Office (GOA) released a study revealing workplace violence is a serious concern for approximately 15 million healthcare workers in the United States.
Although, workers aren’t the only ones impacted. The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO) reports workplace violence causes businesses to lose an average of $250-$330 billion annually due to loss of productivity, illness, injuries, turnover, lawsuits, absenteeism and a loss of customers as a result of a damaged reputation. Despite being a real problem, many businesses under-report non-fatal injuries and incidents resulting in employers failing to protect their employees.
The Pitfalls Of OSHA
The American Journal of Industrial Medicine released a Washington state survey finding 90% of organizations were not complying with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordkeeping and reporting regulations. In addition, OSHA disclosed an estimated 25% of workplace violence incidents go unreported. Furthermore, the safety and health administration asserts “nearly two million American workers report being victims of workplace violence each year.”