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North Carolina Expands Workplace Violence Protections

Publish Date: July 20, 2015

Last month the North Carolina House and Senate passed House bill 560, which expands existing workplace protections for emergency department personnel to all hospital personnel. The bill, which goes into effect on December 1, also makes it a Class I felony to assault causing injury hospital personnel and licensed healthcare providers who are providing health care services to a patient in a hospital.

The bill had bipartisan sponsors, Rep. Josh Dobson (R), Rep. Gale Adcock (D) and Rep. Sarah Stevens (R), as well as bipartisan support as it moved through the House and Senate. One of the sponsors, Rep. Gale Adcock, is an APRN and works with nurses on many legislative efforts, including AORN’s RN Circulator legislation. While HB 560 is an important step in protecting nurses in North Carolina from workplace violence, it is not the last step. AORN members must to continue to work within their facility to develop additional policies to improve workplace safety.

Because there is no federal standard requiring workplace violence protections, several states have passed laws mandating health care employers establish a comprehensive prevention program and/or increasing penalties for those convicted of assaulting nurses and other health care personnel. You can find out if your state has workplace violence protections in place by visiting ANA’s Workplace Safety Policy. In 2014, an AORN member led the charge in Idaho on a bill which made it a felony to assault health care personnel.

AORN supports legislation and regulations that create a safe and healthy work environment such as increased penalties for those convicted of assaults of health care personnel and the establishment violence prevention programs. If you are interested in working on legislative workplace violence prevention strategies in your state, contact AORN Government Affairs Manager Danielle Glover.