the risk management blog

Violence in the Workplace: Healthcare Bears the Brunt [Infographic]

byLowers & Associates | April 18, 2017

Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals go into the caregiving role for many reasons, but most reasons center on helping people. Unfortunately, by putting themselves in this role they also face the risks of violence.

Research published by Dr. James Phillips in the New England Journal of Medicine in April 2016 found “health care violence is an underreported, ubiquitous, and persistent problem that has been tolerated and largely ignored.”  In his research, Dr. Phillips found:

  • almost 75% of all workplace assaults between 2011 and 2013 happened in healthcare settings;
  • 1% of emergency department nurses reported physical assault during the last year; and
  • psychiatric aides experience workplace violence 69 times the national rate for all workplaces.

These statistics are even more alarming when you realize that many of these kinds of crimes are not reported—healthcare workers may see it as part of the job.

Healthcare facilities have the inescapable risk that they must be open to the public, and they cannot screen those who enter 100% of the time. Emergency rooms don’t work if you can’t get into them, and they were not usually built with crime prevention through environmental design in mind.

That said, facilities can evaluate risks and take steps to mitigate them just like any other risk factor. A workplace violence prevention program can address identifiable risks and take steps to protect the safety of workers.

The place to start is basic security, considering people with mental illnesses, gang members, dementia patients, and bereaved relatives are part of the mix of the service population. In this context, essential security requires pervasive security systems, visibility to deter potential threats, and a fast, credible response when violence does occur.

Our latest infographic sheds light on the issue of healthcare security and presents high level information you can use to build a more effective program. Take a look here:



Lowers & Associates provides comprehensive enterprise risk management solutions to organizations operating in high-risk, highly-regulated environments and organizations that value risk mitigation.
View all posts by Lowers & Associates >