Workplace Violence Regulations for Healthcare Facilities Go in Effect April 1 California's Regulations re Strongest in the Nation

For Immediate Release: Dec. 12, 2016
Contact Information: Don Nielsen, 559-647-7732
Workplace Violence Regulations for Healthcare Facilities Go in Effect April 1
California’s Regulations re Strongest in the Nation
On Dec. 8, 2016, California’s Office of Administrative Law gave final approval to the nation’s strongest state workplace violence regulations for healthcare facilities and set an effective date of April 1, 2017, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) announced today.
CNA was the main sponsor of state legislation, S.B. 1299, requiring the groundbreaking rules, referred to as the Cal/OSHA Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care standard, and was also instrumental in shepherding the rule-setting process. 
“Any responsible employer will start the ball rolling now in becoming compliant with these rules,” said said Bonnie Castillo, RN, director of health and safety for CNA/NNU. “We know that these protections are necessary across America, and that’s why it’s so important that California can now serve as a model for the nation.”  
NNU is also fighting for similar standards at the federal level, and nurses will be giving testimony at a public meeting held by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Jan. 10 in Washington, D.C.
“CNA nurses worked for years to achieve the passage of SB 1299 and have continued to push for the development of these regulations, contributing their expertise at advisory committees and public hearings, and doing everything possible to ensure that healthcare workers get the protections they deserve,” Castillo said. “This is a huge victory. But our nurses will not stop fighting until federal OSHA has the same workplace violence protections in place, because these regulations will save lives.”
The new California regulations generally require hospitals to develop, adopt, and train employees on comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans, as well as set much stricter reporting requirements.
On April 1, 2017 employers must:

  • Comply with all recordkeeping and reporting requirements without delay, including the maintenance of a violent incident log and records of workplace violence hazard identification, evaluation, and correction
  • Records maintained by employers must be made available to the chief of the Cal/OSHA upon request and all records shall be made available to employees and their representatives, on request.
  • Hospitals must also begin reporting violent incidents involving certain weapons or injuries within 24 hours to Cal/OSHA, and within 72 hours for all others
  • Employers must retain written records of violent incidents for five years. 
April 1, 2018 employers must:
  • Procedures to identify environmental and patient-specific risk-factors.
  • Procedures to correct workplace violence hazards, including engineering and work practice controls, such as implementing adequate staffing, removal of sight and communication barriers, provision of surveillance systems, installation of alarm systems, and other effective mean.
  • Procedures for post-incident response and investigation, including providing individual trauma counseling to all employees affected by the incident.
  • Employee involvement in the development, implementation, and review of the plan.
  • Training for all employees that emphasizes preventive measures, such as how to recognize the potential violence, how to counteract factors that lead to escalation of violence, how to seek assistance to prevent or respond to violence, and strategies to avoid physical harm.
  • Employers must conduct an annual review of the plan to correct any problems. 
By Jan. 1, 2017, in accordance with S.B. 1299, Cal/OSHA must also begin posting workplace violence data on its website.
Workers in the healthcare and social assistance industry face extremely high rates of workplace violence, say nurses. In 2014, 52 percent of all the incidents of workplace violence reported to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) occurred against workers in the healthcare and social assistance industry. And the rates have been increasing; between 2005 and 2014 rates of workplace violence incidents have increased 110 percent in private industry hospitals.
California Nurses Association represents nearly 100,000 registered nurses throughout the state.