Student Nurses Walking

Worker Safety

Health care providers — especially front-line staff within hospital emergency departments — increasingly are faced with violent encounters by patients and visitors.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 52% of all workplace violence incidents recorded are in health care. MHA has developed resources to assist member hospitals with mitigating workplace violence through advocacy, reducing regulatory burden, strengthening partnerships and implementing evidence-based strategies through policy development and staff skill building.

Workplace Violence in Health Care Settings Definition

MHA facilitated the review and adoption of a definition of workplace violence with the intent of providing clarity and scope, and establishing parameters for future data collection.


To provide scope and direction to statewide program development and data collection initiatives.


An act or threat of violence involving an explicit or implicit challenge to personal safety, well-being or health, and/or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs within health care facilities. Workplace violence includes the following.

  1. The threat or use of physical force, sexual assault, harassment or intimidation against a caregiver or employee that results in, or has a high likelihood of resulting in, injury, psychological trauma or stress, regardless of whether the employee sustains an injury.
  2. An incident involving the threat or use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon, including the use of common objects as weapons, regardless of whether the employee sustains an injury.

View the full definition, including assumptions and types of workplace violence.


MHA has prioritized the following actions to assist Missouri hospitals with reducing the incidence of workplace violence.


Workplace Violence Prevention Toolkit

With expressed permission, MHA adopted the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems’ Workplace Violence Prevention Toolkit as our framework to guide improvement efforts.



ASHRM Healthcare Facility Workplace Violence Risk Assessment Tool

The American Society for Healthcare Risk Management has developed a toolkit with resources, policies, checklists and training aids that helps health care organizations work with their staff to identify, mitigate and respond to workplace violence.

Learn more


OSHA Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence

Healthcare and social service workers face significant risks of job-related violence and it is OSHA’s mission to help employers address these serious hazards. These guidelines reflect the variations that exist in different settings and incorporate the latest and most effective ways to reduce the risk of violence in the workplace.



TJC Workplace Violence Prevention Resources

The TJC Workplace Violence Prevention Resources for Health Care Portal provides a valuable source of information from TJC and other organizations related to the topic of workplace violence in health care.

access the portal


CDC Workplace Violence Prevention Course

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health offers a free, interactive course designed to help health care workers better understand the scope and nature of violence in the workplace.

Learn more

Contact An Expert

Jackie Gatz

Jackie Gatz

Senior Vice President of Quality, Safety and Research

Send Email

573-893-3700 | ext. 1330

Policy Repository

Members-Only Resource

To provide programmatic assistance to support the mitigation of workplace violence within hospitals, MHA sought policies from Missouri hospitals and other health care providers across the U.S. active in these efforts. The following information has been redacted by MHA and reviewed by Healthcare Services Group. This resource is for MHA members.


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