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Safety at work is a core issue for mental health staff working on
in-patient units. At present, there is a limited theoretical base
regarding which factors may affect staff perceptions of safety.
This study attempted to identify which factors affect perceived staff
safety working on in-patient mental health wards.
A cross-sectional design was employed across 101 forensic and
non-forensic mental health wards, over seven National Health Service
trusts nationally. Measures included an online staff survey, Ward
Features Checklist and recorded incident data. Data were analysed using
categorical principal components analysis and ordinal regression.
Perceptions of staff safety were increased by ward brightness, higher
number of patient beds, lower staff to patient ratios, less dayroom space
and more urban views.
The findings from this study do not represent common-sense assumptions.
Results are discussed in the context of the literature and may have
implications for current initiatives aimed at managing in-patient
violence and aggression.
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