First Senate Hearing on Nevada Workplace Violence Prevention Bill
Health Care Workers Facing Epidemic of Violence Demand Protections
Health care workers with National Nurses Organizing Committee-Nevada/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1107 will appear before Nevada senators on Friday, May 3, 2019 to call for the passage of the state’s first workplace violence prevention bill, A.B. 348. The measure was overwhelming passed by the Nevada Assembly last month.
“Nurses and health care workers live with the threat of violence every day,” said Christy Tolotti, an emergency room nurse in Las Vegas. Last year, Tolotti was on duty when a hospital tech was stabbed by an agitated patient. Tolotti saw the stabbing on a surveillance camera and then ran to help. “I found the tech and he was pale and going into shock. He was on the phone calling in the emergency and trying to control his bleeding. All the while, the patient was right behind me yelling and screaming and waving the knife. Our hospital was not prepared for such an incident. If the tech had had a personal alarm perhaps he would not have been so seriously injured. We need A.B. 348 to require our employers to keep health care workers and patients safe.”
- What: Hearing on Nevada workplace violence prevention bill, A.B. 348
- When: Friday, May 3 -- 1:30 p.m.
- Where: Room 2135 - Legislative Building, 401 S. Carson St., Carson City, Nevada
The hearing will also be video-conferenced to Room 4401 of the Grant Sawyer State Office Building, 555 E. Washington Ave., Las Vegas, Nevada
Nurses will available for interviews in both locations.
A.B. 348, introduced by Nevada Assemblymember Michelle Gorelow, would require health care employers to create comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans and track violent incidents in hospitals and other medical facilities.
Health care workers and registered nurses routinely face violence on the job. That violence takes many forms, from being spat on, punched, verbally threatened, scratched and slapped to much more serious acts. In fact, 58 hospital workers died as a result of violence in their workplace between 2011 and 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS also found that RNs in the private sector experienced violence-related injuries at a rate four times higher than any other industry in 2017.
"Health care workers across Nevada are facing a disproportionate amount of violence at work,” said Zavia Norman, a respiratory therapist and vice-president of healthcare for SEIU 1107. “A.B. 348 would involve all health care workers, nurses, nursing aides, and other staff in the creation of prevention plans. The bill makes sense and will lead to meaningful solutions."
Studies have shown that the frequency and severity of violent attacks can be drastically reduced through comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans.
A.B. 348 is sponsored by Nevada health care unions NNOC/NNU and SEIU Local 1107. The bill has also been endorsed by the Nevada state AFL-CIO.
Highlights of the Workplace Violence Prevention Bill -- A.B. 348
- It creates a Nevada OSHA standard to require health care employers to create comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans.
- The definition of workplace violence must include any act of violence or threats of violence, regardless of whether an employee was injured.
- The plans must be unit specific and created in collaboration between employers and employees.
- The plans must delineate how employers will implement appropriate and effective prevention measures such as staffing, security response, alarms, sufficient lighting, and other measures.
- The plans must include procedures for employees to report all incidents of workplace violence without fear of reprisal.
- Employers must provide effective training programs, including hands on de-escalation training for all employees with patient contact.
- The bill requires that health care employers keep records of all workplace violence incidents and report certain incidents to the Department of Industrial Relations.
NNOC/NNU represents more than 2,000 registered nurses in Nevada and, with 155,000 members, it is the largest union and professional association representing RNs in the United States.