When most people think of occupations at risk for violent attacks, police officers, security guards and similar occupations probably come to mind. What people often overlook is the extreme risk of violent attacks health care workers face every day. In fact, nurses, nursing assistants and other health care personnel are four times more likely than other workers to suffer violent attacks on the job. A shocking 86% of emergency room workers have been assaulted on the job.
Protections for Ohio medical workers
In 2012, the Workplace Violence Act went into effect in Ohio, providing enhanced protections to people who work in the medical field. Key features of the law include:
- Increased fines imposed against people who commit assault against health care workers, from a maximum fine of $1000 to a maximum fine of $5000
- Increased criminal penalties against people who have previously been convicted of assaulting a health care worker, from a misdemeanor to a 5th-degree felony
While changes in the law were welcome, health care workers continue to endure violent attacks on the job, especially in the atmosphere of chaos, overcrowding and political divisiveness ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Violence against health care workers takes a variety of forms. Some of the ways this harmful phenomenon manifests include:
- Patients striking out at medical personnel who are trying to administer medicine, apply bandages and perform other necessary treatment
- Patients resisting restraints that are necessary for their own safety
- Family members of patients seeking revenge against doctors and other providers when medical treatment was unsuccessful
If you are a health care worker and have suffered violence on the job, you are not alone and you don’t have to face the financial consequences of a workplace injury by yourself. Legal options are available that may help you overcome this challenging set of circumstances.