The Importance of Top-Down Leadership in Preventing Workplace Violence

July 6, 2023

Across the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) includes a “General Duty Clause” that requires employers to provide a workplace “free of recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or physical harm.” Although these guidelines exist, programs for preventing workplace violence are traditionally not the norm.

In fact, nearly half of all nurses surveyed in 2022 from National Nurses United reported an increase in workplace violence.

The need for effective, facility-wide workplace violence prevention (WPVP) programs is more important now than ever. And the best way to establish is to start at the top.

The Importance of Top-Down Leadership in Preventing Workplace Violence

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is responsible for WPVP and should ensure that the Board of Directors is regularly updated on the status of prevention efforts, reporting numbers, and progress towards effectively preventing workplace violence.

The CEO should assign accountability to a senior executive with sufficient scope of responsibility and authority in the system’s governance model. This workplace violence prevention executive sponsor will be a critical part of a successful WPVP program, but they should not be in it alone. CPI recommends that hospitals develop a supportive WPVP committee to help roll out initiatives across the organization as a whole.

By partnering with CPI, you can create customizable training programs so that every staff member can receive training to prevent workplace violence regardless of role or risk level.

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The Role of the Workplace Violence Prevention Executive Sponsor

As the WPVP executive sponsor established their WPVP committee, they should seek to do the following:

  • Develop a committee with leaders from all departments
  • Assing goals and establish objectives for a WPVP program
  • Harness organizational resources to support these goals and objectives

The WPVP committee should also include a representative who can address the challenges of including non-employee physicians and providers, both for training and compliance.

A successful WPVP program is one that starts with strong support from leadership and consistent input from the WPVP committee and employees.

Download Your Copy of the Workplace Violence Prevention Handbook

Dive deeper into where and how leaders can best support workplace violence prevention efforts. The strategies discussed here are from the Workplace Violence Prevention Handbook, published by CPI and authored by health care professionals for health care professionals.

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