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Framework guidelines for addressing workplace violence in the health sector

22 November, 2005
Workplace violence - physical (homicide, attacks, beating) or psychological (mobbing, bullying, harassment) - affects all categories of workers in just about all sectors. However, the health sector is at major risk due to fundamental characteristics of the services delivered and the present work environment. Under the strain of reforms, social instability, increasing pressures from long working hours and shift work, demoralisation of workers, workplace violence is rapidly spreading in the health sector.

 Increasing domestic violence and violence in the streets is spilling over into health facilities.The negative consequences of such widespread violence heavily impacts on the delivery of health care services, which can include the deterioration of the quality of care provided and the decision by health workers to leave health care professions. This can result in a reduction in health services available to the general population, and an overall increase in health costs. In developing countries, equal access to primary health care is threatened if health workers - already a scarce resource - abandon their profession or migrate.

This training manual was commissioned by the Steering Committee of the ILO, ICN, WHO, PSI Joint Programme on Workplace Violence in the Health Sector as a companion guide to help implement the Framework Guidelines for addressing workplace violence in the health sector.

The two documents constitute a package that should facilitate dissemination and effective utilization of the Framework Guidelines.

  • The Guidelines provide definitions of workplace violence and guidance on general rights and responsibilities; best approaches; violence recognition; violence assessment; workplace interventions; monitoring and evaluation.
  • This Training Manual is a complement to the Framework Guidelines. It is a practical, user-friendly tool that builds on the policy approach of the Framework Guidelines. Representatives of governments, employers and workers would be well served to use the Manual in training situations, so as to encourage social dialogue among health sector stakeholders and develop, in consultation, approaches to address violence in the workplace.



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