The role of the employer in workplace violence: The health care workers' perspective
Background: Workplace violence affects millions of people on a yearly basis. It has important consequences both for the harassed and the employer. The aim of the study was to find out the role employers play in controlling workplace violence in a tertiary healthcare institution as perceived by the health care workers.
Methods: The study was a descriptive cross-sectional study carried out among nurses and doctors at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital
ItukuOzalla (UNTH), using a pre-tested, self-administered and semi-structured questionnaire that was adapted from the workplace violence in the health sector country case studies research instruments by ILO/ICN/WHO/PSI. A sample size of 412 was obtained using the sample size determination formula for cross-sectional descriptive studies. Data was analysed using Epi Info version 3.5.4. Chi-square test was used to determine association with a significance level of p-value at 0.05.
Results: Four hundred and twelve healthcare workers participated in the study, of which 111(26.9%) were doctors while 301 (73.1%) were nurses. One hundred and thirteen (27.4%) respondents felt there were policies on health and safety, 154 (37.4%) reported that there was no policy while 145 (35.2%) did not know if there was any existing policy. For measures in place to mitigate violence at the workplace, 240(58.3%) mentioned existing security measures, 174 (42.0%) improved surroundings, 96 (23.3%) reduced work alone hours, while only 89 (21.6%) mentioned restriction of public access.
Conclusion: Very few healthcare workers had correct information about the existence of policies to protect them from violence at the workplace.
Most employees only know about existing security measures with little or no knowledge of other measures that can be helpful in curbing violence in their workplace. Drafting, dissemination and implementation of policies to reduce workplace violence in our healthcare facilities is recommended.
Keywords: workplace, violence, role of employers, health-worker.