Mac’s Safety Space: Expanding workplace violence requirements

As recently announced, effective July 1, 2024, organizations using The Joint Commission (TJC) for their accreditation are required to adopt a number of specific elements to be included in their workplace violence programs. At this point, as the elements very much reflect the requirements already in place for other accreditation programs (including hospitals), this should come as no surprise. In all likelihood, these elements are already in place, to one degree or another, as they are very much in keeping with a proactive approach to managing the risks associated with workplace violence. It may just be a question of packaging/defining any existing elements to reflect the specific Joint Commission requirements. As long as you can represent the following specifics, you should be good to go:

  • Defining workplace violence. (TJC has included a formal definition in the accreditation manual(s) glossary.)
  • Outlining how leadership oversight of the program is provided.
  • Developing processes for an analysis of worksite as a function of workplace violence risks.
  • Developing policies and procedures for the prevention of workplace violence.
  • Identifying the use of reporting systems, data collection, and analysis in supporting workplace violence prevention.
  • Implementing post-incident strategies. My experience has been that you want to debrief folks as soon as possible after an event, as well as be able to effectively provide any trauma and/or psychological counseling as needed.
  • Providing training and education to decrease workplace violence. Folks really need to have a useful set of skills, particularly those relating to de-escalation. It sure does seem like people in general are more “primed” to act on any unmet expectations (reasonable or not).

Unfortunately (from a culture perspective), the effective management of aggressive behavior is part and parcel of managing the care environment. We certainly don’t need to scare folks (or characterize the world as scary), but we do need to empower them to proactively manage their interactions. Until things subside a little on the mayhem side of the equation, it is definitely better to be safe…

About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with Chartis Clinical Quality Solutions (formerly known as The Greeley Company) in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Healthcare Safety Leader. Contact Steve at