After deadly shooting, workplace safety experts point to lapses at mental health facilities

Associated Press

The deadly shooting at a suburban Philadelphia hospital is serving as yet another illustration of the hazards mental health professionals face on the job — and, experts say, the need for hospitals to do more to protect them.

Nurses, social workers, aides and other mental health providers are at far greater risk of assault than workers in other fields.

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But workplace violence experts say many health care facilities have ignored the problem and are failing to provide a safe working environment for their employees.

In the latest incident of violence, a man fatally shot his caseworker and wounded his psychiatrist, who used his own gun to stop the attack at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital on July 24.