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New Workplace Violence Requirements Help Create Safe and Sound Environments for Staff

08/12/2021

By Lisa DiBlasi Moorehead, EdD, MSN, RN, CENP, Associate Nurse Executive

When our Chief Nurse Executive Council outlined the priority nursing issues in 2018, workplace violence was top of the list.

In the spirit of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Safe + Sound Week—observed August 9-15, 2021—I am excited to share our new and revised workplace violence prevention requirements, effective Jan. 1, 2022.

Starting in January 2022, The Joint Commission will be utilizing these standards during surveys for accreditation and certification. Prior to January, workplace violence issues are being surveyed/evaluated using existing standards within the Environment of Care chapter (primarily) but also in the Emergency Management (EM) and Leadership Development (LD) chapters.

Implications of Unsafe Workplaces
The safety of health care providers is one of the top priorities for The Joint Commission and it became apparent to us that workplace violence instances were moving in the wrong direction. Research shows that the incidence of health care provider workplace violence events and related injuries has steadily increased over the last decade, with many events being underreported. Workplace violence directly impacts a provider’s physical well-being, in addition to impairing patient care and increasing the risk for:

  • psychological distress
  • increased costs
  • higher turnover
  • employee dissatisfaction

Safe + Sound Week
One of the guiding principles of Safe + Sound Week is that “safe workplaces are sound businesses.” I couldn’t agree more. When a nurse or health care worker experiences violence, bullying or incivility on the job, it detracts from their ability to care for patients. My colleagues and I have championed for organizations and their top executives to take on the role of protecting staff from workplace violence (read more in my blog post on this topic) and we hope the new requirements make it easier for leadership to do right by their staff.

To guide hospitals and providers in developing effective prevention and management systems, The Joint Commission has released New and Revised Workplace Violence Prevention Requirements (embed link) that will go into effect January 1, 2022. The requirements are explained in this blog post and include:  

  • defining workplace violence, including a formal definition located in the Glossary
  • leadership oversight
  • worksite analysis
  • developing policies and procedures for the prevention of workplace violence
  • reporting systems, data collection, and analysis
  • post-incident strategies
  • training and education to decrease workplace violence

This is a serious and complex issue, and The Joint Commission is committed to helping institutions create effective interventions to keep their employees and patients safe from workplace violence. OSHA asks that Safe + Sound Week participants “take a step in the right direction” to proactively identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness. At The Joint Commission, we hope that these new workplace violence requirements provide that first step for our accredited organizations.

Joint Commission Workplace Violence Resources
Additionally, all individuals are also encouraged to explore the Workplace Violence Prevention Resource Center  to review other materials focused on workplace violence prevention including: 

Lisa DiBlasi Moorehead, EdD, MSN, RN, CENP, is the Associate Nurse Executive in the Division of Accreditation and Certification Operations at The Joint Commission. Previously, Dr. DiBlasi Moorehead was a field director at The Joint Commission for the Hospital, Critical Access Hospital and Nursing Care Center Accreditation Programs. Since 2010, she has been a surveyor for the Hospital Accreditation Program. Prior to joining The Joint Commission, Dr. DiBlasi Moorehead was responsible for accreditation and regulatory compliance and related performance improvement activities for a five-hospital system in Louisville, Kentucky. She has also held leadership positions in nursing, quality and education during her more than 30 years in health care.