Report Raises Concerns for VA Employee Safety

An IG report has raised concerns about safety of VA employees from both patients and others in the department’s facilities, although noting that the VA does have policy regarding disruptive or violent behavior and does provide training to employees.

A review said that all facilities had implemented policies addressing prevention and management of disruptive/violent behavior and had conducted annual workplace behavioral risk assessments. They also had completed physical security assessments that generally included monitoring systems and panic alarms.

It also said that basic training, called Level I training, had been provided to all employees and additional training had been provided based on the type and severity of risk for exposure to disruptive behaviors. “However, facilities need to improve in providing newly hired employees with Level I Prevention and Management of Disruptive Behavior training and additional levels as indicated,” it said.

Further, the VA “does not provide specific guidance concerning assaults that involve non-patients (employees, visitors, students, and others) as victims or perpetrators. This is an important consideration when the goal is to have a safe workplace.” The report also found more need to address employee-generated violence by establishing employee threat assessment teams.

Management concurred with recommendations to address those concerns.