Joint Commission Revises Workplace Violence Standards

Updated version will be effective Jan. 1, 2022, and include an updated definition of workplace violence

By Chris Miller, Assistant Editor, Facility Market
August 25, 2021

The Joint Commission recently released a new and revised version of its workplace violence standards that will be effective on Jan. 1, 2022. The biggest revision of its standards include a new meaning of workplace violence as an act or threat occurring at the workplace that can include any of the following: verbal, nonverbal, written, or physical aggression; threatening, intimidating, harassing, or humiliating words or actions; bullying; sabotage; sexual harassment; and physical assaults. 

The new definition of workplace violence and related requirements are designed to help healthcare facilities manage safety and security risks. Joint Commission-accredited facilities must conduct a yearly worksite assessment on their violence prevention programs. They also must resolve any issues or risks found in the assessment.

Under the revised requirements, facilities also must collect data to monitor their environmental conditions. This includes injuries to patients and others within the facility, occupational illnesses and staff injuries, incidents of property damage, safety and security incidents, such as workplace violence, and other issues dealing with building management.

Ongoing staff education and training is required, especially when modifications are made to the workplace violence prevention program. Healthcare facilities will be expected to develop a culture that revolves around safety. This culture should include policies and procedures that prevent and even respond to violence in the workplace.

Processes for reporting incidents and follow-up and support for victims should be in place. The Joint Commission says trauma and psychological counseling should be in place for victims if necessary as well.

About 73 percent of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses leading to missed work days in healthcare are connected to workplace violence. This figure does not consider incidents of violence that are not reported, so the actual percentage is likely higher.

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