Similar to many states, Indiana has been gripped by opioid addiction recently and authorities are now investigating whether or not it fueled the July 26th shooting of an Indiana doctor. Wednesday morning the suspect showed up with his wife to Todd Graham’s office for her appointment. Upon discovery that Graham did not believe the suspect’s wife needed opioid medication for her chronic pain, he became very angry and the couple left the office. About two hours later, the suspect returned with a gun, but Graham was headed to St. Joseph Rehabilitation Institute, so the suspect followed Graham to the institute’s parking lot where the suspect proceeded to argue with Graham before he pulled out his gun. There were two witnesses who saw the gun and the suspect told them to leave. He then proceeded to shoot Graham. The suspect left the scene and went to a friend’s home where he insinuated that he would not be around anymore. The friend contacted the police, who found the suspect dead outside the home.

A Higher Risk for Workplace Violence

Those who work in the healthcare industry are at a much higher risk for workplace violence related incidents and it is crucial that all employees be trained on how to handle not only workplace violence and disgruntled employees, but patients and their families as well. Being able to recognize the signs and respond to the situation accordingly can help reduce the chances of the situation turning violent.

Here are a few reasons why healthcare professionals are at such a high risk:

  • Working alone in a facility or in patients’ homes
  • Lack of means of emergency communication
  • Working in neighborhoods with high crime rates
  • Working directly with people who have a history of violence, abuse drugs or alcohol, gang members, and relatives of patients or clients
  • Transporting patients and clients
  • Poorly lit corridors, rooms, parking lots and other areas
  • Lack of facility policies and staff training for recognizing and managing hostile and assaultive behaviors from patients, clients, visitors, or staff

Don’t Be a Victim of Workplace Violence

Unfortunately, workplace violence is still a very real threat, especially in parking lots where it is more difficult to mitigate. However, there are a few ways to help reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim.

Here’s how:

  • Try to park as close to the building as possible and in a highly visible/well-lit area
  • Don’t park next to large vehicles that block your sight
  • Don’t approach someone who is loitering near your vehicle, especially if they seem angry. Engaging will only make the situation worse
  • Try to walk with a friend, co-worker or security officer
  • Be alert of your surroundings

 

Preventing Workplace Violence

As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your entire staff by recognizing that no facility is immune to workplace violence. OSHA has determined that the best way to prevent and reduce workplace violence is through a violence prevention program that covers five core elements.

  • Worksite analysis and hazard identification – By ensuring that policies and procedures are in place, you are able to continually identify hazards and risks.
  • Management commitment and employee participation – Ensure that all management demonstrate their commitment to preventing workplace violence and are setting a good example for employees, as well as keep the line of communication open so that employees feel comfortable expressing their concerns with management.
  • Hazard prevention and control – Eliminate any hazards that might contribute to workplace violence.
  • Safety and health training – Conduct mandatory training for all employees so they are aware of what to do in an emergency situation. Workplace violence aside, every workplace should have a strict health and safety training policy implemented too. Employees working in an industrial environment should also know how to use equipment like an eyewash and safety glasses (which can be bought from storemasta), so that they are well prepared if an accident did occur. Safety comes first!
  • Recordkeeping and program evaluation – Keep accurate records of everything that goes on within your facility in order to better identify trends and patterns. This will help employers to develop solutions, identify deficiencies and opportunities for improvement.

Preparing With Preparis

Preparis is able to help your healthcare facility prepare, respond and recover from any potential incident, including workplace violence. With Preparis, your facility will be able to create and test an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) to help you respond to any situation, access to our wide array of training to help your employees understand how to respond to incidents and quickly alert and communicate with employees during an emergency using our emergency notification and incident management system.

To learn more about how Preparis can help assist your healthcare facility prepare for, respond to and recover from any incident, click here.

 

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