Mac’s Safety Space: Workplace violence–plotting your own course

By Steve MacArthur, Hospital Safety Consultant

I know we touched on this a month or so ago, but in the light of a little bit of data from our friends from Chicago, I wanted to run through this (at least) one more time. Based on the April issue of Perspectives, it would seem that a few folks were cited in 2022 for not having completed their initial annual workplace violence worksite analysis (not a ton of folks were cited—about two and a half dozen out of the approximately 1500 hospitals surveyed in 2022).

In general, I think  we can categorically state that anything new in the standards mix, particularly when it comes to the physical environment, is going to be a “hard stop” during the survey process. To that end, I have a couple of thoughts and a potential resource.

As a global thought, I think the best “place” to present this information is as part of the security management annual evaluation (you could make the case that it would work within the confines of the safety management annual evaluation)—to me, it doesn’t make a great deal of sense for it to exist as a standalone process—integration is the name of the game, particularly when one is accounting for the good works accomplished during the year.

Being sure to include the workplace violence worksite assessment (let’s call it the WVWA) in the annual evaluation process will help keep the topic in mind, but also be a means of informing organizational leadership as to what’s going on and what support might be needed to ensure the appropriate management of the workplace violence risks. The “glory” (if you will) of all of this is that, as outlined in the performance element language, there is no prescribed methodology for conducting the WVWA, so you can adopt and adapt any resource to that end. Of course, you want it to make sense within the context of the assessment, but I think I have something that will be helpful to that end.

The good folks at the American Society for Health Care Risk Management (ASHRM) have developed a very useful workplace violence toolkit ( that serves very nicely as the basis for the ongoing evaluation of your organization. I would encourage you to download the materials (after sharing a little bit of information—nothing comes for free any more) and take advantage of the comprehensive evaluation. You can either represent it as the analysis on its own or distill the important elements into a summary—whatever works best for communicating with your intended audience(s).

And speaking of annual evaluations, if I may be permitted a brief rant, it seems that lately I’ve been running into annual evaluations that only include data from the time period being evaluated. Yes, I know that there are no specific requirements to do so, but I always feel “cheated” when the evaluation doesn’t include some historical data. If you consider this as how one demonstrates performance improvement, how can you show sustained improvement without some history? It’s probably just me, but I’ve always wanted the process to tell a story—compliance (unlike diamonds) really isn’t forever. There is typically an ebb and flow to all this stuff and I, as a reviewer, want to see that journey. End of rant…

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