California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Nurses Rally for New Health Care Workplace Safety Regulations

Last week, California nurses rallied for the approval of new health care workplace safety regulations by the state Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (Koseff, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 12/16).

Background

Health care and social assistance workers are nearly five times more likely than average employees in other sectors to experience a nonfatal assault or violent act by another person, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For example, nearly 60% of nonfatal assaults and violent acts in 2007 occurred in the health care and social assistance sectors.

Details of the Regulations

The proposed regulations would implement a state bill (SB 1299) passed last year.

The regulations would cover workplace safety for workers in home health, home-based hospice, outpatient medical offices, paramedic and emergency medical services, and other health facilities.

The proposal would define workplace violence to include threats of violence.

Under the regulations, employers would be required to implement:

  • Ways to identify risk factors;
  • Investigation and response procedures; and
  • Procedures for correcting violence hazards.

Employees also would have to be involved in the development, implementation and review of the workplace violence prevention plans. In addition, employers must provide violence-prevention training for all employees (California Healthline, 11/5).

Nurses Rally for Approval of Regulations

On Thursday, the Cal-OSHA board met to take the last round of public comments on the regulations.

Nurses with the California Nurses Association and the Nurse Alliance of California rallied outside of the Cal-OSHA meeting location to support the approval of the regulations.

Ingela Dahlgren, executive director of the Nurse Alliance of California, touted that the new regulations would add "harassment, stalking and bullying to the already present OSHA regulations" (Rucker, Fox40, 12/17).

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