Richard Negri, Health and Safety Director at SEIU Local 121RN and Co-Lead of the California Safe Care Standard Campaign, spoke at the Los Angeles Workers Memorial Day Coalition press conference today at City Hall. This was part of the week-long actions around Workers Memorial Day in Los Angeles; on April 29 there will be a rally at 10:30 am at College Hospital Cerritos that is specifically around workplace violence in the healthcare industry. Join us!
Each year on Workers Memorial Day – April 28 – working people around the world remember our co-workers who were killed or hurt on the job and renew our struggle for safe workplaces.
In the United States, more than 4,400 workers were killed on the job in 2013 by traumatic injuries and an estimated 50,000-60,000 died from occupational diseases. On an average day, more than 10,000 workers are injured or become ill because of workplace hazards and 150 workers lose their lives as a result of workplace injuries and diseases.
One workplace death or injury is one too many. These tragedies could have and should have been prevented.
Workplace violence is a growing threat, particularly for women workers in the healthcare and social service industries. Between 2011 and 2013, workplace assaults ranged from 23,540 and 25,630 annually, with 70 to 74% of assaults occurring in healthcare and social service settings, new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals.
In California, healthcare workers experience workplace violence on a daily basis. Facilities often ignore the safety concerns of their workers, even though they are required by law to provide a safe and healthful work environment for their employees.
We are here today to highlight the issue that workplace violence is an occupational hazard that healthcare workers face at all types of facilities where they work.
It was the murder of psychiatric technician Donna Gross at Napa State Hospital in 2010 that served as a catalyst for SEIU Local 121RN and SEIU Nurse Alliance of California to launch the California Safe Care Standard campaign to petition Cal/OSHA to promulgate a comprehensive workplace violence prevention regulation for healthcare workers in the state. Without an enforceable regulation, facilities are often not held accountable for their workers’ safety on the job.
We are here today to say enough is enough. We are calling on healthcare facilities to do the right thing. We need common sense safeguards in place to protect us from violence on the job. We deserve to be safe at work. Our patients deserve to be cared for in safe environments.