Workplace Safety Bill Unveiled After Attacks on Calif. Hospital Nurses
California lawmakers are considering a bill (SB 1299) that would require stricter workplace violence prevention plans at state hospitals following two separate attacks that occurred at Los Angeles-area medical centers last weekend, the Orange County Register reports (Olson, Orange County Register, 4/21).
Details of Attacks
In one of the attacks, a nurse was stabbed repeatedly at the Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar after an individual was able to get past the hospital's weapons screening area with a knife, according to the Torrance Daily Breeze.
Another attack occurred at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, where a nurse was stabbed in the ear with a pencil.
The bill, by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), would require the state's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to implement violence prevention plans to shield health care workers from aggressive and violent behavior (Abram, Torrance Daily Breeze, 4/21)
Specifically, the bill would require:
- The creation of systems for investigating instances of violence;
- Strategies to determine appropriate staff levels to maintain security; and
- Training policies for identifying and responding to violence.
In addition, hospitals in the state would be required to report violent incidents to Cal/OSHA, which would publish an annual report (Orange County Register, 4/21).
The measure is slated to be taken up by the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee on Thursday (Torrance Daily Breeze, 4/21).
Padilla said current hospital safety rules are too general, adding, "Unfortunately, these two instances this weekend have driven home the importance of having strong safety procedures in place" (Orange County Register, 4/21).
Malinda Markowitz -- co-president of the California Nurses Association, which supports the bill -- said, "We [cannot] stand by while nurses, other hospital staff, patients, families and visitors are put in harm's way in hospitals that fail to provide the measures that will protect their staff and the community," adding, "It is time for the Legislature to act."
However, the California Hospital Association said the bill is unnecessary because hospitals already have appropriate safety plans in place (Torrance Daily Breeze, 4/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.