On November 13, more than 30 healthcare workers and union staff from Service Employees International Union Locals 121RN, 1021, 1000, and United Long Term Care Workers joined in solidarity with representatives from the United Nurses Association of California, the California Nurses Association, the California Teachers Association, Worksafe, and the California American Nurses Association at the second Cal/OSHA Workplace Violence in Healthcare advisory meeting in Oakland.
This was one in a series of public stakeholder meetings being held by Cal/OSHA to develop the country’s first comprehensive workplace violence prevention regulation for healthcare workers. The focus of this meeting was to discuss workplace violence and prevention mechanisms as they relate to non-hospital healthcare settings.
It is clear that the mechanisms of prevention – when it comes to the hazard of workplace violence – will be different from one work environment to the next. What will work at San Quentin simply may not be suitable for what is needed at College Hospital Cerritos, for example.
When the Chairs of the meeting asked about what takes place at non-hospital settings, they heard about an incident where a nurse in a prison, attempting to give meds to her patient through a door-slide, was assaulted when her patient threw feces and urine all over her. They also heard about a home healthcare worker who had to lock herself in with her patient in the bathroom of the home she was visiting because the parents of the patient were being violent with one another.
There is no shortage of these stories, regardless of the settings in which healthcare workers perform their duties, and they are propelling the California Safe Care Standard campaign on a fast track whereby we will definitely have a regulation in place no later than the summer of 2016.
“It is important to realize that many of these state regulations can take upwards of ten years to put in place. The fact that we will see our workplace violence prevention standard in place in about three years from start to finish is a testament to how critical this issue this, and to the readiness with which workers are willing to share their harrowing experiences with the hazard and the risks associated with the hazard,” said Richard Negri, SEIU Local 121RN Health and Safety Director and co-lead of the campaign.
Thank you to everyone who went to Oakland to be part of this historic regulatory-making process. Up next is a sub-committee meeting on Wednesday, November 19 on security issues. For more information, email us.