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Sussex County Workers’ Comp: Protecting Mental Health Workers

New Jersey Worker’s Comp Protecting Mental Health Workers     Sussex County Workers’ Comp: Protecting Mental Health Workers

For many individuals in the mental healthcare industry, the memory of a woman named Stephanie Moulton is still fresh. Moulton was 25 and working alone at a group home she was employed by when she was slain in 2011, by a client who allegedly had a history of violence.  In the man’s trial at the end of 2013, Moulton’s mother Kimberly Flynn stated that while the family was glad the man was behind bars, she wanted to focus on fighting to get the laws changed so that something like this doesn’t happen again.

For your clients who work in group homes and other areas of social services, violence from patients or residents is a very real concern and reason for focus on staff safety. While not all scenarios end as tragically as the situation above, injuries due to violence can and do occur, resulting in not only employee loss, but Sussex County Workers’ Comp risk for your clients’ business as well.

It’s no secret that mental health staff face many stressors that can impact their professional an private lives. Like Moulton, staff often work with mentally and emotionally unstable people, dwindling services and reduced benefits, and working conditions such as understaffing, working alone, and/or working late hours. All of this puts them at a high risk of workplace violence.

While there still needs to be a lot done in the form of changing laws and legislation nationwide, there are some simple steps that your clients can take now to start putting focus on mental health staff safety. As well as ensuring that your clients are complying with OSHA rules, you can encourage them to develop a written safety plan for the facilities they manage. This plan should include:

  • Specific descriptions of the function and layout of the group home or facility
  • Detailed and comprehensive content so that all staff members, clinical and non-clinical, know what to do in an emergency
  • A review process on a regular basis

Training within the written plan should also include instructions on:

  • How to recognize signs of patient or resident agitation
  • What to do at the first signs of agitation
  • The use of particular code words and/or phrases to signal help without increasing a patient/resident’s agitation
  • How to determine a patient or resident’s level of dangerousness
  • How to use interventions such as de-escalation and/or non-violent self defense

Putting a focus on staff safety is imperative for your clients in the mental health industry, to not only reduce their Sussex County Workers’ Comp risks, but also to prevent an injury or tragic accident from occurring. At the Associated Specialty Insurance Agency, Inc., we understand that fostering a culture of safety with ongoing training and supervision is key to mitigating risk and securing an affordable, effective Sussex County Workers’ Compensation package. Please contact us today at (866) 679-7457 to learn more about the various industries we serve, including social services.

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