Nevada healthcare workplace violence bill passes committee, heads for floor vote
“We’re thrilled this bill is one step closer to passage; When nurses aren’t safe, our patients and their families aren’t safe.”
Nevada’s health care unions, National Nurses Organizing Committee-Nevada/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) and Service Employees International (SEIU) Local 1107 today celebrated the passage of health care workplace violence prevention bill A.B. 348 out of the Nevada Assembly’s Committee on Commerce and Labor—with the next step being a floor vote.
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.
“Nurses and other healthcare workers experience extremely high rates of workplace violence, and our employers need to be held accountable for protecting us on the job. We are so thrilled A.B. 348 has moved one step closer to passage, because when nurses aren’t safe, our patients, their families and their visitors aren’t safe. Violence impacts everyone in the vicinity,” said NNOC/NNU registered nurse Kari Deaton.
The risk of workplace violence is a serious occupational hazard for RNs and other health care workers—who experience violence on every shift and routinely report being kicked, punched, slapped, pushed, spat on, and verbally threatened.
Statistics from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) indicate the problem of violence in medical settings is on the rise. A 2016 GAO report found a greater than 12 percent increase in workplace violence related injuries for health care workers between 2011 and 2013. Violence against nurses and other health care workers causes trauma, injuries, and even death. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, between 2011 and 2016 at least 58 hospital workers died as a result of violence in their workplaces.
"Healthcare 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. "Assemblymember Gorelow's bill would involve all healthcare workers, nurses, nursing aides, and other staff in the creation of prevention plans. The bill makes sense and will lead to meaningful solutions."
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.