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Workplace Violence Legislation Introduced Across the Country

Publish Date: June 24, 2019

Workplace violence and bullying can be common occurrences in nursing. In fact, OSHA has reported that healthcare workers are at an increased risk for incidents of workplace violence. Workplace violence resulting in missed work days for the injured worker to recover are four times more common in the health care sector than in private industry.

This year, at least 16 states have introduced more than 30 bills to address workplace violence in health care settings. To date, NV, OR and WA have adopted legislation.

Nevada AB 348 was approved by Governor Sisolak on June 12, 2019. The new law which becomes effective July 1, 2020, requires certain medical facilities to develop and carry out a plan for the prevention of workplace violence and report incidents of workplace violence to the state’s Division of Industrial Relations of the Department of Business and Industry.

Oregon SB 823 was signed into law by Governor Brown on June 11, 2019. Among other things, the new law which is effective January 1, 2020, requires health employers to: (a) Conduct periodic security and safety assessments to identify existing or potential hazards for assaults committed against employees; (b) Develop and implement an assault prevention and protection program for employees based on those assessments ; and (c) Provide assault prevention and protection training on a regular and ongoing basis for employees.

Washington HB 1931 was signed by Governor Inslee on May 31, 2019. Effective January 1, 2020, the new law requires that, every three years, each health care setting shall develop and implement a plan to prevent and protect employees from violence at the setting. The plan shall outline strategies aimed at addressing security considerations and factors that may contribute to or prevent the risk of violence.

AORN supports legislative and regulatory initiatives for safe perioperative work environments and accountable patient safety cultures and will continue to monitor and report on workplace violence legislation in 2019. If you are interested in getting involved with these legislative efforts, please contact Jennifer Pennock, AORN Senior Manager of Government Affairs.