Unfortunately, as an emergency physician, you or someone you know has likely been physically or verbally assaulted in the ED. In fact, an ACEP survey from last year showed that nearly half of emergency physicians have experienced violence in the workplace, with the majority of the reported cases having occurred in the past year.
Beyond the physical and psychological toll workplace violence takes in the near and long term, it also has a significant detrimental effect on patients. In fact, in the same ACEP survey, 80 percent of emergency physicians said violence in the ED was harming patient care. Patients who come to the ED deserve to be in a safe environment—one where injuries are healed, not newly acquired.
Addressing this issue is one of ACEP’s top priorities, and we believe more needs to be done at the federal level to protect you and your patients. That is why, in addition to creating guidance and tools to help you handle violent episodes when they occur, we have been engaging directly with Congress and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)—the federal agency responsible for assuring safe and healthy workplace conditions.;
While OSHA provides resources about how to reduce or prevent workplace violence, surprisingly, it doesn’t have a standard in place on this critical issue. (A “standard” is OSHA’s method of instituting a requirement aimed at protecting workers.)
Earlier this year, ACEP supported legislation to require OSHA to create such a standard, but OSHA is also working to develop a reg that would implement a new standard for preventing workplace violence in health care.
OSHA recently said it’s interested in receiving additional information that it could use to help structure the new standard. We believe that it is essential for OSHA to hear your experiences so that the standard effectively addresses ED violence. If you have any specific stories or other information, such as surveys, you would like to share with OSHA, please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will gladly pass them along. Your voice can help make your ED a safer place for you, your colleagues, and your patients.
Until next week, this is Jeffrey saying, enjoy reading regs with your eggs!