[Excerpt] Workplace violence is a serious concern for the approximately 15 million health care workers in the United States. OSHA is the federal agency responsible for protecting the safety and health of the nation’s workers, although states may assume responsibility under an OSHA- approved plan. OSHA does not require employers to implement workplace violence prevention programs, but it provides voluntary guidelines and may cite employers for failing to provide a workplace free from recognized serious hazards. GAO was asked to review efforts by OSHA to address workplace violence in health care.
GAO examined the degree to which workplace violence occurs in health care facilities and OSHA’s efforts to address such violence.
GAO analyzed federal data on workplace violence incidents, reviewed information from the nine states GAO identified with workplace violence prevention requirements for health care employers, conducted a literature review, and interviewed OSHA and state officials.