Workplace Violence – What’s New in Behavioral Health for 2024?

Healthcare team members and their patients are exposed daily to the dangers of workplace violence that has resulted in real casualties. Not only has this threat caused physical injury and sometimes death but has also resulted in collateral damage to the organization’s culture of safety.

What Does the Data Show?

The data for workplace violence in healthcare shows some disturbing trends. In 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare all-worker incidence rate for nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work was 10.4 incidents (per 10,000 FTE), compared to the incidence rate of 2.1 for all other work professions. Simply put, our healthcare team members are 5 times more likely to suffer a workplace violence injury than all other work professions.  Additionally, healthcare workers accounted for 73 percent of all nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses due to violence in that same year. The number of injuries from violent attacks against medical professionals grew by 63% from 2011 to 2018.  Our places of healing have become places of violence.

Starting July 1, 2024, The Joint Commission approved new and revised workplace violence prevention standards, applicable to all Behavioral Health Care and Human Services organizations accredited by the Joint Commission.

The requirements address the following:

  • Defining workplace violence, clearly delineating workplace violence in the organization.
  • The new definition noted in the Joint Commission’s Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Behavioral Health Care and Human Services (CAMBHC) Glossary has been expanded to incorporate a precise definition of workplace violence:

“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.”

  • Leadership oversight, requiring the establishment of guidelines for leaders to take charge of the prevention efforts.
  • Policies and procedures - crafting effective policies and procedures aimed at identifying and averting workplace violence.
  • Post-incident strategies - initiating strategies for responding to incidents that have occurred.
    • NEW LD.03.01.01 EP 9:

The organization has a workplace violence prevention program led by a designated individual and developed by a multidisciplinary team that includes the following:

-Policies and procedures to prevent and respond to workplace violence.

-A process to report incidents, and to analyze incidents and trends.

-A process for follow-up and support for victims and witnesses affected by workplace violence, including trauma and psychological counseling, if necessary.

-Reporting of workplace violence incidents to governance.

  • Worksite analysis processes – organizations need to develop comprehensive processes for analyzing the work site’s vulnerability to violence, ie: risk assessment.
    • NEW EC.02.01.01 EP 17:

The organization conducts an annual worksite analysis related to its workplace violence prevention program. The organization takes actions to mitigate or resolve the workplace violence safety and security risks based upon findings from the analysis.

Note: A worksite analysis includes a proactive analysis of the worksite, an investigation of the organization’s workplace violence incidents, and an analysis of how the program’s policies and procedures, training, education, and environmental design reflect best practices and conform to applicable laws and regulations.

  • Reporting systems, data collection, and analysis - implementing systems for reporting, collecting data, and conducting in-depth analysis related to workplace violence.
    • UPDATED EC.04.01.01 EP 1:

The organization develops and implements a process(es) for continually monitoring, internally reporting, and investigating the following:

-Problems and incidents related to each of the environment of care management plans.

-Injuries to individuals served or others within the organization’s facilities.

-Occupational illnesses and staff injuries.

Note: This requirement applies to issues in the workplace, such as back injuries or allergies. It does not apply to communicable diseases.

-Incidents of damage to its property or the property of others in locations it controls.

-Safety and security incidents involving individuals served, staff, or others in locations it controls, including those related to workplace violence.

-Fire safety management problems, deficiencies, and failures.

Note 1: All the incidents and issues listed above may be reported to staff in quality assessment, improvement, or other functions as well as to the designated leader of the workplace violence reduction effort. A summary of such incidents may also be shared with the person designated to coordinate safety management activities.

Note 2: Review of incident reports often requires that legal processes be followed to preserve confidentiality. Opportunities to improve care, treatment, or services, or to prevent similar incidents, are not lost as a result of following the legal process.

  • Training and education to decrease workplace violence – proactive and ongoing training and educational resources to reduce instances of workplace violence.
    • NEW HRM.01.05.01 EP 17:

As part of its workplace violence prevention program, the organization provides training, education, and resources (at time of hire, annually, and whenever changes occur regarding the workplace violence prevention program) to leadership, staff, and licensed practitioners. The organization determines what aspects of training are appropriate for individuals based on their roles and responsibilities. The training, education, and resources address prevention, recognition, response, and reporting of workplace violence as follows:

-What constitutes workplace violence.

-Education on the roles and responsibilities of leadership, clinical staff, security personnel, and external law enforcement.

-Training in de-escalation, nonphysical intervention skills, physical intervention techniques, and response to emergency incidents.

-The reporting process for workplace violence incidents.

It is imperative that there be compliance with these updated and new standards by July 1, 2024. Organizations need to ensure that not only their staff and patients, but the public as well, are safe when entering their healthcare facility.  Leaders need to ensure that education, training, policies and procedures, and processes are in place to keep everyone safe and that if incidents occur there is analysis and follow-up to avoid another incident from occurring.

To learn more about new and revised changes in Workplace Violence regulations contact the C&A team at 704-573-4535 or email us at

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