Releases Workplace Violence Update July 2024

Releases Workplace Violence Update July 2024

The Joint Commission has issued new workplace violence prevention requirements that go into affect on July 1, 2024. The Joint Commission joins several federal agencies in monitoring the risks associated with workplace violence and updates safety policies as needed. These agencies include the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. This Joint Commission update is based upon data gathered in 2023.

What is Workplace Violence?

Workplace violence has become growing concern among employers across all industries, including behavioral and mental health organizations. Healthcare settings in particular face significant risks of workplace violence, with incidents twice as high as private industries.

Before delving into the revised Joint Commission Workplace Violence updates, let’s see how this entity defines workplace violence.

The Joint Commission defines workplace violence as encompassing the following:

  • Verbal, nonverbal, written, or physical aggression
  • Threatening, intimidating, harassing, or humiliating words or actions
  • Bullying
  • Sabotage
  • Sexual harassment
  • Physical assaults
  • Other behaviors of concern involving staff, licensed practitioners, patients, or visitors

8 Identified Areas of Non-Compliance to Workplace Safety Standards

The Joint Commission has identified eight areas within the healthcare industry that are prone to non-compliance to standards and safety goals. These include:

  1. Ambulatory Care. Common issues include infection prevention and control, medication errors, and ventilation system problems.
  2. Behavioral Health Care and Human Services. Most of the issues involve identifying suicide risks and preventing suicide attempts.
  3. Critical Access Hospital. Issues include infection prevention measures and sterilization and medication errors.
  4. Home Care. Issues include infection risks, updating patient record regarding medications, patient condition, status, diet, and complying with the individual care plan.
  5. Hospital. Issues include using appropriate infection prevention and sterilization measures, medication problems, identifying suicide risk, ventilations system problems, and safe, suitable interior spaces.
  6. Laboratory and Point-of-Care Testing. Issues include timely correlations, proficiency testing problems, monthly reviews of records, and staff competency problems.
  7. Nursing Care Center. Issues include the handling and disposing of hazardous chemicals, infection prevention, confirming staff qualifications and licensure, competency testing, and food storage problems.
  8. Office-Based Surgery. Issues revolve around infection prevention and sterilization practices.

Workplace Violence Prevention for Behavioral Health Settings

Effective July 1, 2024, The Joint Commission has introduced three new workplace violence prevention requirements, and revised an existing one. All Joint Commission-accredited behavioral healthcare and human services organizations must comply with these measures.

Measure 1: Manage safety and security risks in the environment.

The behavioral health practice must conduct an annual worksite analysis related to the workplace violence prevention program. It then must implement changes based on the findings from the analysis.

Measure 2: Collect information to monitor conditions in the environment.

The organization must develop a process to monitor, report, and investigate:

  • Problems and incidents related to the care management plans
  • Injuries to patients or others within the facility
  • Occupational illnesses and staff injuries
  • Damage to property or property of others in facilities
  • Safety and security incidents involving patients, staff, or others including those related to workplace violence
  • Fire safety management problems

Measure 3: Staff is to participate in education and training.

Training includes:

  • What constitutes workplace violence
  • Education on the roles of leadership, clinical staff, security personnel, and law enforcement
  • Training in de-escalation, physical or non-physical intervention skills, and emergency response
  • The reporting process for workplace violence incidents

Measure 4: Leaders create and maintain a culture of safety and quality.

Organizations are to develop a workplace violence prevention program that includes:

  • Policies and procedures to prevent and respond to workplace violence
  • A process to report incidents
  • A process for follow-up and support for victims and witnesses, including trauma counseling
    Reporting incidents to governance

Behavioral Health Workplace Safety Measures

Behavioral health and mental health entities are subject to workplace violence due to the nature of the patient conditions being treated and unpredictable situations. As noted above, assessing suicide risk and taking measure to prevent suicide attempts is a specific area of concern.

A key factor in a workplace safety plan is providing adequate training to leadership, staff, and licensed practitioners. This includes education and resources appropriate to the person’s role and responsibilities.

Workplace violence prevention relies on staff members to be informed about what the definition of workplace violence is. They must also be trained on how to de-escalate a situation, and how to report the incident.

To ensure behavioral health workplace safety, The Joint Commission update includes seven workplace violence prevention strategies. These include:

  1. Adding a formal definition of workplace violence to the glossary
  2. Outlining leadership oversight
  3. Developing work setting analysis processes
  4. Developing policy and procedure protocols for preventing workplace violence
  5. Creating reporting systems, data collection, and analysis programs
  6. Implementing post-incident strategies
  7. Providing staff training and education to reduce workplace violence incidents

Circa Behavioral Healthcare Solutions: Leadership in Behavioral Health

Circa Behavioral Healthcare Solutions helps develop leadership in behavioral health organizations by keeping them apprised on Joint Commission updates. The July 1st workplace violence update contains critical new policy points that must be complied with to avoid penalties. Our compliance specialists are available to assist you with Joint Commission standards and updates, including this new workplace violence update. Reach out today at (888) 458-6619.