Cal/OSHA Workplace Violence Public Hearing Set for Thursday

Members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United will testify at the Cal/OSHA Standards Board's public hearing in Sacramento.

A public hearing of the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board is set for 10 a.m. local time Dec. 17 in Sacramento to discuss rules to prevent workplace violence in health care settings, and nurses from the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United are scheduled to testify. They will urge the board to pass the regulations as soon as possible, according to NNU.

The regulations are mandated by SB 1299, the Healthcare Workplace Violence Prevention Act, which was sponsored by CNA last year and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown; the public hearing marks the end of a 45-day written comment period on the new regulations.

"It is long past time to hold employers in the health care industry accountable for preventing and mitigating the risk of workplace violence. We support the proposed regulations because they implement and build upon the strong protections we fought so hard for in SB 1299," said Bonnie Castillo, RN, associate executive director of National Nurses United. "We urge speedy passage of these regulations so that we can have comprehensive workplace violence plans in place as soon as possible. Every day we wait is a day that workers are at risk of physical violence, psychological harm and even death," said Castillo, who is the director of the Registered Nurse Response Network, a project of NNU.

"I am proud to have authored SB 1299 and to have worked closely with the 86,000 registered nurses of CNA who sponsored the bill," said Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a former state senator. "This legislation was approved by the Legislature with bipartisan support and requires Cal/OSHA to adopt standards requiring hospitals to establish workplace violence prevention plans to protect health care workers and other facility personnel from aggressive and violent behavior."

According to NNU, the proposed regulations cover health care workers in all health facilities, outpatient medical offices and clinics, home health care and home-based hospice, paramedic and emergency medical services, field operations such as mobile clinics and dispensing operations, drug treatment programs, medical outreach services, and other off-site operations, including retail outlets that are providing health care services. The regulations define workplace violence as encompassing actual acts of violence and threats of violence; they require employers to develop a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan that emphasizes prevention and involves worker participation.

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