Federal safety regulators on Friday revealed more details about a possible workplace violence prevention rule that would apply to healthcare settings, almost certainly including skilled nursing facilities.

A slideshow shared during a small business advocacy review roundtable hosted by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration shows the agency will be focusing its efforts on customer, client and patient violence. The presentation said it is prevalent in the healthcare sector “and can be reasonably anticipated and mitigated by employers.”

OSHA officials rates of workplace violence are 30 times higher for healthcare workers than in all other industries, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics, . In 2019, the rate of nonfatal violent incidents that required workers to take time off was five times greater than in overall private industry.

“Nonfatal workplace violence is more widespread in the healthcare and social assistance sectors than in any other industry,” OSHA reported. “While workplace violence also occurs in other industries, healthcare and social assistance services have a common set of risk factors related to the unique relationship between the care provider and the patient, client or their visitors.”

Just last fall, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also moved to strengthen its guidance on workplace violence.

The OSHA slidedeck gave no indication of when a draft standard might be unveiled, and, as of Monday, a website outlining the workplace violence efforts has not been updated to include a timeframe. But it said it would be built around a five-pronged framework that includes:

  • A workplace violence prevention program
  • Workplace violence hazard assessments
  • Control measures
  • Training
  • Violent incident investigation and record keeping

If ultimately passed, the intended rule would apply to employers including hospitals, ambulatory medical care, substance abuse treatment centers, residential care facilities, home healthcare, and emergency medical services and social assistance organizations.