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Lawmakers work on bill to protect healthcare workers after nurses stabbed

Lawmakers want stricter workplace violence prevention plans at state hospitals after nurses stabbed in separate attacks.
April 24, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
California lawmakers that want stricter workplace violence prevention plans at state hospitals approved a bill that was brought forward Thursday.

On Sunday, two Southern California nurses were stabbed in separate attacks at local hospitals. Those two attacks have prompted legislation to better protect healthcare employees in California hospitals.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that healthcare workers are five times more likely to be the victim of a violent act than the average worker.

"I, myself, as a physician working in a hospital, have had times when something that the patient may not be doing well and sometimes have engaged in behavior that could potentially present a danger to people working in the hospital," said state Assemblyman Richard Pan (D-Sacramento).

Cal/OSHA collects data on workplace accidents and regulates safety. However it does not collect detailed information about workplace attacks. Thursday's new bill would require Cal/OSHA to collect more details on hospital violence and report all incidents on its website.

"Unfortunately current laws specific to emergency rooms and other specific areas that the hospital chooses to deem as high risk," said state Senator Alex Padilla (D-Los Angeles). "What my bill would call for is a more comprehensive safety plan to cover all areas of the hospital and the hospital property."

"It's important that there are plans in place to protect the people working in hospitals. Unfortunate incidents in Southern California show that people that work in hospitals can be in actual physical danger," said Pan.

The bill was approved by the Senate Labor Committee Thursday.

The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, the group that sponsored the bill, applauded the approval and released a statement:

"There is a critical need to have standards and protections that apply for all nurses and healthcare workers throughout the hospital, not just areas deemed by administration to be high-risk areas."

Some hospital officials are opposing the bill saying that they already have violence prevention plans in place.

The bill now goes to the Senate Health Committee on April 30.


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