workplace violenceA new Maine Department of Labor report indicates that more than 13 percent of healthcare workplace injuries result from patient aggression. The aggressive acts resulting in worker injuries included hitting, biting and kicking. Workers frequently sustained injuries while trying to restrain their patients and clients.

The research on violent or aggressive actions by mental health patients, nursing home and residential care clients, general hospital patients, adults and children with disabilities and individuals being treated for substance abuse target workers in the Healthcare and Social Assistance industry. The Research and Statistics Unit of Maine’s DOL compiled this data from the First Reports of Injury of the Workers' Compensation Board 2011 database. Their study (PDF*) found that in 2011, more than 1,300 workers in healthcare or rehabilitation settings were hurt on the job by a patient or client.

Mental health care settings and Other Residential Care Facilities accounted for 695 cases or 52% of all violent/aggressive incidents in 2011. Nursing Care Facilities and other care settings for the elderly and people with disabilities accounted for 252 cases or 18.9% of incidents. General Medical and Surgical Hospitals and other general medical/surgical-related services accounted for 224 cases or 16.8% of incidents.

OSHA's Safety and Health Topics page on Workplace Violence explains risk factors, provides training materials, and offers additional information about preventing violence in the workplace. OSHA's Healthcare page can provide further resources about workplace hazards and preventative measures for the healthcare industry.