California has recently become the first state to take steps to protect health care workers from the risk of violence in the workplace. Statistics indicate that the health care industry has an unusually high number of violence-related incidents, more than any field in the private sector. Lawmakers hope that new changes will protect these workers from workplace injuries stemming from violent actions.

The health care industry is a highly stressful field, and it is not unusual for a worker to be exposed to verbal or even physical assaults from patients and families. Sometimes this results in physical injury, but, more often, workers are left dealing with the emotional trauma that often follows these types of attacks. One of the ways that Cal/OSHA hopes to prevent these types of incidents is by identifying risks and creating a plan to confront any violence that does occur.

The proposed changes also include measures that would provide constant access to backup and alarms. It is also suggested that employers provide line of sight for any worker who is interacting with a patient. Lawmakers are also proposing that workers receive training to deal with patients who may become violent.

Protecting the safety of heath care workers should be a high priority for the state of California. As these individuals deal with the public constantly, they should be provided with adequate training and proper safety measures in order to effectively deal with the challenges of their jobs. These steps and other proposed measures can go a long way toward preventing workplace injuries. 

Source: natlawreview.com, “Cal/OSHA Proposes Workplace Violence Prevention Standards in Health Care“, Nickole C. Winnett, Nov. 26, 2015