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R3 Report Issue 30: Workplace Violence Prevention Standards

Effective January 1, 2022, new and revised workplace violence prevention standards will apply to all Joint Commission-accredited hospitals and critical access hospitals. According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the incidence of violence–related health care worker injuries has steadily increased for at least a decade. Incidence data reveal that in 2018 health care and social service workers were five times more likely to experience workplace violence than all other workers—comprising 73% of all nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work. However, workplace violence is underreported, indicating that the actual rates may be much higher. Exposure to workplace violence can impair effective patient care and lead to psychological distress, job dissatisfaction, absenteeism, high turnover, and higher costs.

The high incidence of workplace violence prompted the creation of new accreditation requirements. The new and revised Joint Commission standards provide a framework to guide hospitals in developing effective workplace violence prevention systems, including leadership oversight, policies and procedures, reporting systems, data collection and analysis, post-incident strategies, training, and education to decrease workplace violence.

The accreditation manual’s Glossary now defines 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; physical assaults; or other behaviors of concern involving staff, licensed practitioners, patients, or visitors.”

Engagement with stakeholders, customers, and experts

In addition to an extensive literature review and public field review, The Joint Commission sought expert guidance from the following groups:

  • Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) of practicing clinicians from health care and academic organizations, professional associations, and healthcare and government sectors.
  • Standards Review Panel (SRP) of representatives from organizations or professional associations who provided a “boots on the ground” point of view and insights into the practical application of the proposed standards.

The prepublication version of the workplace violence prevention standards will be available online until December 31, 2021. After January 1, 2022, please access the new requirements in the E-dition or standards manual.

Download R3 for Workplace Violence Prevention Standards