Preventing workplace violence is possible—OSHA’s guidelines can help you gauge whether your training program is effective.

Per OSHA, effective training in preventing workplace violence for healthcare and social service workers “should cover the policies and procedures for a facility as well as de-escalation and self-defense techniques. Both de-escalation and self-defense training should include a hands-on component.” They propose that a comprehensive violence prevention training program address the following topics:
  • The workplace violence prevention policy.
  • Organizations often integrate CPI training into their written policies to make sure that every employee is involved in preventing workplace violence—to support that, CPI provides supplemental training and thought leadership for developing and updating policies with clear expectations that help protect staff and organizations from risk.
  • Risk factors that cause or contribute to assaults.
  • CPI training helps you accurately identify the Precipitating Factors that can fuel disruptive or assaultive behaviors, using evidence-based tools such as our Crisis Development Model.
  • Early recognition of escalating behavior or recognition of warning signs or situations that may lead to assaults.
  • By emphasizing the rational assessment of verbal and nonverbal behaviors, along with other time-tested strategies for early intervention, CPI training helps staff proactively address risk factors before they escalate.
  • Ways to prevent or diffuse volatile situations or aggressive behavior, manage anger, and appropriately use medications as chemical restraints.
  • Straightforward, time-tested tools like CPI’s Decision-Making Matrix help staff make appropriate choices that support safe, effective intervention and mitigate the risk of harm when a situation escalates.
  • A standard response action plan for violent situations, including the availability of assistance, response to alarm systems, and communication procedures.
  • CPI training provides a common language for staff to maintain consistent knowledge and ability when preventing workplace violence. This allows departments plan and collaborate seamlessly, as well as effectively regroup after an incident to document and update best practices and procedures.
  • Ways to deal with hostile people other than patients or clients, such as relatives and visitors.
  • CPI training takes a holistic view of human behavior—because we’re all vulnerable to stressors and capable of escalating into crisis behavior. So, the supportive techniques you learn in training naturally translate to other interpersonal encounters—it’s a common observation among CPI staff and Certified Instructors that these paradigms can be very useful in our personal lives as well as our workplaces.
  • Progressive behavior control methods and safe methods to apply restraints.
  • Our training includes verbal and nonverbal interventions, as well as physical disengagement and nonviolent restraint—emphasizing the safety of both staff and the individual in crisis. When the use of restraint is inevitable, staff can confidently facilitate and document the use of restraint in ways that mitigate the risks of physical and psychological harm as well as organizational liability, and remain fully compliant with the policies that govern the use of restraint in their organization.
  • The location and operation of safety devices such as alarm systems, along with the required maintenance schedules and procedures.
  • By creating a culture of safety as a matter of policy as well as best practice, CPI training provides continuity in maintaining both the safety of the facility itself as well as the staff and clients within it. Environmental awareness is critical to effective violence prevention and supports the values and best practices of staff training.
  • Ways to protect oneself and coworkers, including use of the "buddy system".
  • CPI training requires staff collaboration to keep each other (and those in their care) as safe as possible at all times. This team approach to violence prevention strategies creates a supportive environment that improves not only staff safety but staff retention by increasing safety, confidence, and morale.
  • Policies and procedures for reporting and recordkeeping.
  • Again, our evidence-based resources for drafting meaningful policies include reporting and documenting events to support risk management, crisis resolution, and organizational transparency.
  • Information on multicultural diversity to increase staff sensitivity to racial and ethnic issues and differences.
  • CPI training emphasizes empathic listening and supportive interventions that meet people where they are and accept them for who they are—rather than imposing our culture onto your organization, our training invites staff to create their own inclusive culture of safety. We encourage the development of therapeutic rapport between staff and clients to facilitate authentic, person-centered care.
  • Policies and procedures for obtaining medical care, counseling, workers' compensation or legal assistance after a violent episode or injury.
  • If workplace violence prevention training is to be substantive and effective, it must be supported by institutional processes that make resources available to staff to support the goals of Care, Welfare, Safety, and Security. CPI training encourages the collaborative dialogue, effective policy drafting, and transparent documentation processes that empower staff and supervisors—and it abides by the best practice guidelines of regulatory agencies that are responsible for ensuring worker wellbeing.


People are priceless—but preventing workplace violence is an investment that every organization can afford to make.

OSHA’s recommendations are based on years’ worth of data that keeps healthcare and social service workers stuck at the top of the risk spectrum for illness and injury from workplace violence. But if you’re a decision maker at your organization, you can push these metrics in a more positive direction by ensuring your staff has the right tools for effectively preventing workplace violence.
It’s critical to remember that “incident” is a reporting term. Every “incident” is really a situation in which human beings have been exposed to aggressive or violent behavior. Lives are changed, sometimes permanently, by physical harm and psychological trauma. These lives belong to professionals, clients, patients, students, families, and bystanders. When we acknowledge the human beings that populate these metrics, statistics become starkly personal. And they should be.
Regulatory compliance should be a positive outcome of a culture of safety, not the reason for creating one. When our perspective is one of empowering and enriching those around us to perform their professional responsibilities or receive person-centered care, creating a culture of safety becomes a value that all of our staff—and those in their care—can truly engage with and thrive.
Fortunately, OSHA has made it possible for us to bridge industry best practices with person-centered cultures of safety. CPI offerings like Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training empower organizations like yours to truly live their mission statements, and ensure meaningful outcomes for professionals and the people they care for.

Take a look at what organizations like yours have accomplished in preventing workplace violence with CPI training.