HAP Resource Center

Fact Sheet: Protecting our Caregivers from Workplace Violence

Health care professionals keep all of us safe. We all need to return the favor. Violence against health care professionals is never acceptable.

Violence against health care workers is on the rise.

  • From 2010 to 2020, the rate of nonfatal workplace violence against health care workers more than doubled. Worse, nearly 400 caring professionals were killed by assailants in their workplaces. 1,2
  • Hospital workers were six times more likely to suffer a workplace violence injury than other professions in 2020.3
  • Health care workers made up 12 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2020 but suffered 73 percent of nonfatal injuries due to workplace violence.4,5
  • During 2019, 91 percent of emergency medical services workers were verbally assaulted and 67 percent were physically assaulted while on the job.6

Sometimes the injury isn’t the worst damage.7

Word cloud of the emotional damage faced by health care workers

It takes all of us to keep health care workers safe.

In 2020, Pennsylvania made it a felony to assault a health care worker and protected health care workers’ identities by allowing their last names to be omitted from ID badges.

Nationally, during June 2022, U.S. Representative Madeleine Dean (D-4) introduced the Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees (SAVE) Act along with Representative Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN). HAP supports this important legislation that establishes federal criminal penalties for assaults and authorizes grant funding to reduce violence and intimidation in hospitals.

Hospitals are increasing their efforts to prioritize staff safety, making new investments in:

  • Safety plans
  • Risk assessments
  • Security officers
  • Restricted access
  • Video monitoring
  • Staff training

The work is far from over. Violence does not belong in the workplace. HAP and Pennsylvania hospitals support additional policy improvements aimed at keeping health care professionals safe from violence and abuse.


1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For 2010 data see: Case and Demographic Characteristics for Work-related Injuries and Illnesses Involving Days Away From Work. For 2020 data see: Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Data. Table R8. Detailed industry by selected events or exposures. Last accessed: 02/08/2022.
2 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data 2020-2019: Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) – Current. Data 2018-2010: Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) - Archived Data. Annual Data.  See tables “Industry by event or exposure.” Last accessed: 02/14/2022
3 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Data. R8. Detailed industry by selected events or exposures (Rate). Last accessed: 02/10/2022.
4 Kaiser Family Foundation. Health Care Employment as a Percent of Total Employment, 2020. Last Accessed: 02/04/2022
5 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Data. R4. Detailed industry by selected events or exposures. Last accessed: 02/04/2022.
6 National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT). Violence against EMS Practitioners, 2019 National Survey. 2019. Last Accessed: 02/09/2021. 
7 Dadfar, M., & Lester, D. (2021). Workplace violence (WPV) in healthcare systems. Nursing Open, 8(2), 527-528. Last accessed: 02/14/2022.


Topics: Workforce

Revision Date: 8/11/2022

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