Workplace violence is a serious threat. Although it can affect workers in any industry, health care workers are especially at risk. In response to this problem, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (California OSHA) has created new regulations regarding violence prevention in health care. The second portion of these regulations goes into effect on April 1, 2018.
In 2015, there were 417 workplace homicides, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accounting for 9 percent of all fatal occupational injuries. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that close to 2 million American workers report being victims of workplace violence each year, and that many more cases may go unreported.
OSHA defines workplace violence as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” Violence can be caused by other employees, but it can also come from customers, patients and other people at the work site.
The New Regulations
Under the new California OSHA regulations, health care facilities are required to establish workplace violence prevention plans.
The following health care facilities are required to comply with the new regulations:
- Health facilities, defined as “any facility, place, or building that is organized, maintained, and operated for the diagnosis, care, prevention, or treatment of human illness, physical or mental, including convalescence and rehabilitation and including care during and after pregnancy, or for any one or more of these purposes, for one or more persons, to which the persons are admitted for a 24-hour stay or longer”
- Home health care and home-based hospice
- Emergency medical services and transport
- Drug treatment programs
- Outpatient medical services to patients in correctional and detention settings
The regulations are being implemented in two phases. By April 1, 2017, health care facilities were required to implement the following:
- Create and maintain a violent incident log. This log records every incident along with the response and injury investigation.
- Maintain recordkeeping of compliance with these regulations.
By April 1, 2018, health care facilities are required to implement these additional measures:
- Create a workplace violence prevention plan. This plan must be in writing and available to employees.
- Conduct a review of the workplace violence prevention plan. This review should assess the effectiveness of the plan. Any problems identified during the review should be corrected. A review must be conducted at least once a year.
- Provide training to employees covering workplace violence risks.
For more information, including details on what the workplace violence prevention plan, the annual review, the incident log, the training and the recordkeeping should include, see the California Code of Regulation, Title 8, Section 3342.
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