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Course 776 - Preventing Workplace Violence in Healthcare

Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Worksite Analysis

A Team Approach

A threat assessment team should include individuals from the security team.

A worksite analysis involves a step-by-step look at the workplace to find existing or potential hazards for workplace violence. This entails reviewing specific procedures or operations that contribute to hazards and specific areas where hazards may develop.

A threat assessment team, patient assault team, similar task force or coordinator may assess the vulnerability to workplace violence and determine the appropriate preventive actions to be taken. This group may also be responsible for implementing the workplace violence prevention program.

The team should include representatives from:

  • senior management
  • operations
  • employee assistance
  • security
  • occupational safety and health
  • legal and human resources staff

The team or coordinator can review injury and illness records and workers' compensation claims to identify patterns of assaults that could be prevented by workplace adaptation, procedural changes or employee training. As the team or coordinator identifies appropriate controls, they should be instituted.

The recommended program elements for worksite analysis includes, but is not limited to:

  • records review of procedures and operations for different jobs
  • employee and patient/client surveys
  • workplace security analysis

Records Analysis and Tracking

The primary document analyzed during records analysis and tracking is the job hazard analysis (JHA). The JHA focuses on job tasks to identify hazards. Through review of procedures and operations connected to specific tasks or positions to identify if they contribute to hazards related to workplace violence and/or can be modified to reduce the likelihood of violence occurring, the JHA examines the relationship between the employee, the task, tools, and the work environment. Worker participation is an essential component of the analysis. As noted in OSHA's publication on job hazard analyses, priority should be given to specific types of job. For example, priority should be given to:

  • Jobs with high assault rates due to workplace violence;
  • Jobs that are new to an operation or have undergone procedural changes that may increase the potential for workplace violence; and
  • Jobs that require written instructions, such as procedures for administering medicine, and steps required for transferring patients.

After an incident or near miss, the analysis should focus on:

  • Analyzing those positions that were affected;
  • Identifying if existing procedures and operations were followed and if not, why not (in some instances, not following procedures could result in more effective protections);
  • Identifying if staff were adequately qualified and/or trained for the tasks required; and
  • Developing, if necessary, new procedures and operations to improve staff safety and security.


Employee questionnaires or surveys are effective ways for employers to identify potential hazards.

Employee surveys

Employee questionnaires or surveys are effective ways for employers to identify potential hazards that may lead to violent incidents, identify the types of problems workers face in their daily activities, and assess the effects of changes in work processes.

  • Detailed baseline screening surveys can help pinpoint tasks that put workers at risk.
  • Periodic surveys conducted at least annually or whenever operations change or incidents of workplace violence occur help identify new or previously unnoticed risk factors and deficiencies or failures in work practices.

The initial and periodic review processes should also include feedback and follow-up. The following are sample questions to ask during interviews:

  • What daily activities, if any, expose you to the greatest risk of violence?
  • What, if any, work activities make you feel unprepared to respond to a violent action?
  • Can you recommend any changes or additions to the workplace violence prevention training you received?
  • Can you describe how a change in a patient's daily routine affected the precautions you take to address the potential for workplace violence?

Client/Patient Surveys

Clients and patients may also have valuable feedback that may enable those being served by the facility to provide useful information to design, implement, and evaluate the program. Clients and patients may be able to participate in identifying triggers to violence, daily activities that may lead to violence, and effective responses.

Workplace Security Analysis

The team or program coordinator should periodically inspect the workplace and evaluate employee tasks to identify hazards, conditions, operations and situations that could lead to violence.

To find areas requiring further evaluation, the team or coordinator should:

  • Analyze incidents, including the characteristics of assailants and victims, an account of what happened before and during the incident, and the relevant details of the situation and its outcome. When possible, obtain police reports and recommendations.
  • Identify jobs or locations with the greatest risk of violence as well as processes and procedures that put employees at risk of assault, including how often and when.
  • Note high-risk factors such as:
    • types of clients or patients (for example, those with psychiatric conditions or who are disoriented by drugs, alcohol or stress)
    • physical risk factors related to building layout or design
    • isolated locations and job activities
    • lighting problems
    • lack of phones and other communication devices
    • areas of easy and unsecured access
    • areas with previous security problems
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of existing security measures, including engineering controls. Determine if risk factors have been reduced or eliminated and take appropriate action.



Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. The recommended program elements for worksite analysis includes each of the following, EXCEPT _____.

2. Which of the following is an important screening tool to confirm the need for improved security measures?

3. The primary document analyzed during records analysis and tracking is _____.

4. Recommended methods for worksite analysis include each of the following, EXCEPT _____.

5. Who should periodically inspect the workplace and evaluate tasks and hazards to identify situations that could lead to violence?

Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.