Healthcare workers represented by SEIU locals across California and UNAC-UHCP packed the Cal/OSHA Workplace Violence in Healthcare advisory meeting on February 5 in Los Angeles to make sure that the regulation the agency is working on will effectively address their needs.
Cal/OSHA heard from more than a hundred of us that, while what they presented as a first draft is good, it needs to include more specific language on bullying. We are in agreement that the regulation must identify the four commonly accepted typologies of violence.
Bullying wasn’t the only thing discussed. Healthcare workers pushed back on the California Hospital Association when it complained of the difficulty it will have in reporting to Cal/OSHA violent incidents, as mandated in SB 1299, legislation that was recently signed by Governor Brown.
The incredible bravery of the nurses and healthcare workers in sharing their stories of either experiencing or witnessing violence at work brought tears to many people’s eyes. While the mainstream media doesn’t usually cover workplace violence in healthcare until one of us is seriously injured or killed, reporters from NBC in Los Angeles and various Spanish-language news agencies turned out to cover the meeting, interview healthcare workers, and share our message that in order for our patients to be safe, we need to be safe at work.
To summarize, in its draft form, the regulation will cover all healthcare facilities, service categories, and operations and will apply to all employers and employees covered in the scope of the regulation. As part of their already-required Injury and Illness Prevention Program, employers must establish, implement, and maintain an effective written workplace violence prevention plan. Training will be for everyone covered in the scope of the regulation. Furthermore, the regulation requires that records be created and maintained around hazard identification, evaluation, and correction; training; and incidents and injury investigation.
We spoke to a number of proposed changes we had around details of the draft, some of which include:
- defining the four typologies of workplace violence
- a stand-alone workplace violence prevention plan
- unit-specific assessments and training
- more specific data recording
We submitted these and all of our other proposed changes formally to Cal/OSHA and look forward to learning when the next advisory meeting is scheduled. Once we know the date/time and place, we will let everyone know.