Research

'Walkthrough strategy' effective in tackling workplace violence

A major review of anti-violence programs has found workplace violence prevention strategies must go beyond training workers on how to deal with perpetrators, and target the issue through stakeholder-identified environmental and policy changes. This is exactly the approach promoted by unions – to implement controls at the source, according to the hierarchy of control.

The review focussed on healthcare organisations and nursing and found a range of training and education programs provided only "peripheral improvements", like increased confidence among workers and better conflict management and communication skills. These programs did not actually decrease the level of violence in workplaces.

"Basically, these interventions do not address the behaviour of the person (generally) instigating the violence," said the public health researchers from the University of Toronto in Canada and the US's University of Illinois Chicago.

However, they found ‘multicomponent interventions’ developed in consultation significantly decreased workplace violence against nurses. One of the studies reviewed used a 'worksite walkthrough strategy' to involve staff and administration in assessing potentially effective interventions. The employer subsequently implemented measures across environmental, administrative and behavioural levels, including panic buttons, security locks, safety policies, prevention procedures, and staff training on violence management.

Multicomponent interventions are in line with recommendations from bodies like the International Labour Organisation and the World Health Organisation that violence prevention programs should include areas like training, security measures and structured workplace violence prevention and management policies.
Read more: Rozina Somani, et al,  A Systematic Review: Effectiveness of Interventions to De-escalate Workplace Violence against Nurses in Healthcare Settings. [Full article] Canada and US, Safety and Health at Work, online first May 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.shaw.2021.04.004. Source: OHS Alert

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