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  • Drew Neckar

Healthcare workplace violence - The Joint Commission proposes changes to its Accreditation Standards

Updated: Feb 11

Workplace violence directed against healthcare workers has been recognized as a serious issue for quite some time, in fact in the United States the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has deemed workplace violence as a “recognized hazard” for healthcare organizations, requiring that they take preventative measures. Other countries, and individual US States, have also enacted their own programs to combat workplace violence against healthcare workers.

In the newest development in healthcare workplace violence prevention on January 5th The Joint Commission, an accrediting body for many healthcare organizations in the US and internationally, has published proposed changes to its accreditation standards that will be aimed at making healthcare organizations take a more proactive stance on addressing workplace violence.


The proposed changes will effect Hospital and Critical Access Hospital programs accredited by The Joint Commission, and include the following added requirements and adjustments to the Environment of Care, Human Resources, and Leadership chapters of its standards.

  • Adds the requirement that the organization conducts an annual assessment of the effectiveness of its workplace violence program and acts on its findings. (EC.02.01.01)

  • Adds language specifically including “workplace violence Incidents” in the definition of “security incidents” for which the organization must maintain processes to document, monitor, and investigate. (EC.04.01.01)

  • Adds language specifically including “workplace violence Incidents” in the definition of “security incidents” which the organization must investigate. (EC.04.01.01)

  • Adds the requirement that the organization provide workplace violence prevention training and education for leadership, staff, and licensed providers within 90 days of hire. (HR.01.05.03)

  • Adds the requirements that the organization maintains a workplace violence prevention program and that the program: (LD.03.01.01).

  • Is led by a designated individual.

  • Is developed by a multi-disciplinary team.

  • Has polices and procedures to prevent and respond to workplace violence.

  • Has a process for reporting and analysis of workplace violence incidents.

  • Has a process to follow-up and support victims of workplace violence.

  • Has a process for reporting of workplace violence incidents to the organization’s governing body.

These proposed changes are now open for comment until February 16, 2021 after which The Joint Commission will take into account the commentary received and likely publish the revised standards with the new workplace violence prevention language included. While none of the proposed changes place too onerous a burden on the organization they will necessitate changes to existing practices at many organizations, especially those in jurisdictions that do not have well developed national or local laws requiring healthcare workplace violence prevention programs.

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