OSHA Publication on Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence


OSHA has just put out a new publication entitled “Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers

With the healthcare industries suffering around 70% of the significant injuries in the workplace due to assault it only makes sense that OSHA address the problem. Men and women working in the fields of healthcare are presently 4 times more likely to suffer injury as a result of workplace violence than are others in any other line of work.

Healthcare workers and social service workers are often faced with patients with mental issues, patients who might be on drugs and/or patients who are frightened and scared and therefore more likely to turn violent. Understanding how to defuse anger and control the environment in which they are working becomes crucial in helping protect themselves and others from threats from violent patients.

The 60-page document includes recordkeeping and program evaluation forms in order to make it easier to implement and track progress. Check out the publication here.

Teen Dating Violence

There is nothing like your daughter’s first prom to get a father started down a long road of worrying about her as she starts dating. As much as we’ll like to believe that the young man who’s going to be taking her out has been properly raised and will treat our daughter with the respect she deserves and keep her safe, the simple fact is that we just can’t be sure.

Because of this it’s important not only to educate yourself but also to sit down with your daughter and teach her what to watch out for and when to leave.

Fortunately the CDC website has put together material that you can read, share and download.

Simply go to http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/teen_dating_violence.html

Especially useful is the PDF that you can download entitled “Understanding Teen Dating Violence

Have the talk with your son or daughter now. It might make all the difference later.

Fifty Shades of Grey and Safety

Let me start by saying that I have not read any of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” books, though I have talked to many women who have. Those who have and who are honest with me tell me that, although captivating and engrossing, the books are somewhat troubling.

I’m not talking about the issue of BDSM, I’m talking about the message that we are sending, especially to younger readers about the nature of love and what’s okay and what isn’t. While I don’t personally think that they should be reading the books the fact is that they are and pretending they aren’t means we aren’t able to help them understand the safety issues involved here.

Warning flags go up when I hear comments like “I wish I had a guy like Christian!”. Really?!?! A guy who insists that you answer the phone immediately when he calls, no matter where you are and what you’re doing? A guy who shows up at your house if you don’t respond quickly enough? Who shows up when he isn’t expected and hasn’t been invited?

Peggy Andover Ph.D and Colleen Jacobson have written a great article that I would like to direct your attention to.

As the authors of the article explain these are warning signs of Intimate Partner Violence (IVP) and reflect serious control issues that are at the core of most stalking and domestic violence problems.

Here’s a quote from the article:

Christian’s actions exemplify two specific types of IPV: intimate partner stalking and coercive control, both common forms of violence against women. Intimate partner stalking includes repeated and unwanted contact or attention that causes the victim to fear her own safety or the safety of others. Over 16 percent of women have experienced stalking during their lifetimes, and two-thirds of those have been stalked by an intimate partner, such as a boyfriend, spouse or girlfriend. Although alarming, these rates likely underestimate the actual prevalence, as most instances of IPV are not reported to the police. The most common form of stalking is repeated and unwanted phone calls or text messages; Christian’s first gifts of a laptop and BlackBerry may not be coincidental. Ana responds with a combination of negative and positive feelings and ultimately accepts his behaviors. This ambivalence can be common in victims of IPV, and it in no way makes the behavior acceptable.

So now, with millions of women reading these books, the message we are communicating is that this type of behavior, rather than being seen as unhealthy and dangerous, is actually supposed to be interpreted as romantic?

I’m not here to pass judgement on the sexual content of the books but as someone who blogs about safety I have to warn young women that anyone who starts to behave the way Christian does in these books ought to be someone you get away from as soon and as fast as possible, not someone you seek to have a relationship with. IVP and control issues are serious and dangerous, not romantic! And if you’ve got a daughter that’s reading these books, sit down and have a serious talk with her about it.

There are many things out there that we wish our children weren’t exposed to but the fact is that they are. How we respond and what we tell them can make the difference when it comes to safety issues such as the ones we’ve just mentioned. If you haven’t already done so, you need to talk to them about what is healthy and what isn’t, what is romantic and what is obsessive or controlling. IPV, obsessiveness, controlling behavior… these are not romantic, they’re dangerous patterns of behavior that can not and should not be tolerated in any relationship.

CDC “Workplace Violence Prevention” Handbook

Workplace Violence Prevention Strategies and Research Needs

This report summarizes discussions that took place during Partnering in Workplace Violence Prevention: Translating Research to Practicea landmark conference held in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 1517, 2004. The report does not include a documented review of either the literature on WPV in general or intervention effectiveness research in particular. In addition, the authors have consciously avoided adding the NIOSH perspective to this report or otherwise augmenting its content. We have preferred to represent as accurately as possible the information, ideas, and professional judgments that emerged from the discussions that took place at the Baltimore workshop.

Workplace Violence Prevention Strategies and Research Needs [PDF

New OSHA web section on Workplace Violence

When speaking about occupational health and safety, we rarely think to include workplace violence. It has, however, ranked in the top four most common causes of death in the workplace for the past 15 years. In 2010, for example, out of the reported 4,547 fatalities in the workplace, 506 were attributed to workplace homicides.

According to the new OSHA webpage on workplace violence, some “2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence each year.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean that co-workers are killing each other in the workplace. Most of these fatalities have been identified as robberies or acts of violence in workplaces where alcohol is served. Any place of business that is open late, where money is present and where alcohol is being served is identified as a high risk business for workplace violence. Additionally jobs that deal with handling volatile and unstable people such as hospitals are also considered high-risk in regards to workplace violence.

One of the main directives for OSHA in this regard is helping educate workers in one of these high-risk jobs so that they can learn to minimize the risk of attack or assault by taking certain basic precautions.

In light of this, OSHA has put together several documents available in pdf format on the website:

Preventing Violence Against Taxi and For-Hire Drivers [64 KB PDF*, 1 page]. OSHA Fact Sheet, (2010, April).

Recommendations for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs in Late-Night Retail Establishments [404 KB PDF*, 40 pages]. OSHA Publication 3153-12R, (2009).

Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care & Social Service Workers. OSHA Publication 3148-01R, (2004). Also available as a 624 KB PDF, 47 pages.

Dig around the Workplace Violence site and you’ll find training and resource downloads and information, statistics and risk factors and much, much more.