Safety and Health Training

Training and education ensure that all staff are aware of potential security hazards and how to protect themselves and their coworkers through established policies and procedures. Frequent training also can reduce the likelihood of being assaulted.

Employees who may face safety and security hazards should receive formal instruction on the specific hazards associated with the unit or job and facility. This includes information on the types of injuries or problems identified in the facility and the methods to control the specific hazards. It also includes instructions to limit physical interventions in workplace altercations whenever possible, unless enough staff or emergency response teams and security personnel are available. In addition, all employees should be trained to behave compassionately toward coworkers when an incident occurs.

The training program should involve all employees, including supervisors and managers (OSHA, 2016).


Topics for Employee Training in Safety and Health

The training should cover topics such as:

  • The workplace violence prevention policy;
  • Risk factors that cause or contribute to assaults;
  • Early recognition of escalating behavior or recognition of warning signs or situations that may lead to assaults;
  • Ways to prevent or diffuse volatile situations or aggressive behavior, manage anger, and appropriately use medications as chemical restraints;
  • A standard response action plan for violent situations, including the availability of assistance, response to alarm systems, and communication procedures;
  • Ways to deal with hostile people other than patients and clients, such as relatives and visitors;
  • Progressive behavior control methods and safe methods to apply restraints;
  • The location and operation of safety devices such as alarm systems, along with the required maintenance schedules and procedures;
  • Ways to protect oneself and coworkers, including use of the "buddy system";
  • Policies and procedures for reporting and recordkeeping;
  • Information on multicultural diversity to increase staff sensitivity to racial and ethnic issues and differences; and
  • Policies and procedures for obtaining medical care, counseling, workers' compensation or legal assistance after a violent episode or injury.

Training is most effective when it is participatory and includes role playing, simulations, and hands-on practicing of skills.

Training for Supervisors and Managers

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Supervisors and managers need to learn to recognize high-risk situations, so they can ensure that employees are not placed in assignments that compromise their safety. They also need training to ensure that they encourage employees to report incidents.

Supervisors and managers should learn how to reduce security hazards and ensure that employees receive appropriate training. Following training, supervisors and managers should be able to recognize a potentially hazardous situation and to make any necessary changes in the physical plant, patient care treatment program and staffing policy and procedures to reduce or eliminate the hazards.

Page last reviewed: February 7, 2020