Regulation of Workplace Violence in the Healthcare Industry Under OSHA’s “General Duty” Clause
Workplace violence, defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening behavior that occurs at the worksite” has become front and center in the minds of many employers. It is an increasingly important topic of discussion, with important legal ramifications. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 17,000 workers in private industry were injured due to workplace violence in 2016 and 70% of those injured worked in the healthcare and social assistance industry. The National Safety Council reports that 17% of workplace deaths in 2016 were the result of violence. Violence in the workplace obviously impacts the injured or killed employees and their families, but it also affects the bottom line, including medical bills, workers comp claims, reduced productivity and morale, as well as negative publicity.This
- An Employer’s Obligations
- The Integra Case
- Proving a Violation
- Addressing Workplace Violence
It is fair to say that OSHA has workplace violence in its sights. Workplace violence is now viewed as falling with the “general duty” of employers to provide a safe workplace. It is likely that OSHA will begin to cite employers more often where it is foreseeable that employees are subjected to potential violence in the course of performing their duties. In such event, experienced OSHA attorneys will be necessary to aggressively fight such citations.