California's new rules for workplace violence prevention in hospitals take effect: 4 things to know

California's workplace violence prevention rules, which are designed to improve safety at healthcare facilities across the state, went into effect one year ago and were followed by recently proposed federal legislation.

Here are four things to know about the rules.

1. Development of the rules dates back to February 2014. At that time, two healthcare worker unions called for the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health, known as Cal/OSHA, to develop and adopt new rules to protect healthcare workers against workplace violence, according to the California Department of Industrial Relations. A department spokesperson told Becker's Hospital Review via email Cal/OSHA considered the request and developed draft rules that ultimately became section 3342 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations enforced by Cal/OSHA.

2. The Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care standard applies to general acute care hospitals, acute psychiatric hospitals, special hospitals and various other healthcare facilities.

3. The rules require covered healthcare facilities to establish a workplace violence prevention plan "that includes obtaining help from facility security or law enforcement agencies as appropriate." The DIR spokesperson said it also requires these facilities to document information in a violent incident log and provide workplace violence prevention training to employees. Additionally, certain licensed hospitals must report violent incidents to Cal/OSHA.

4. The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United said via news release the rules have served as the model for proposed federal legislation called the Health Care Workplace Violence Prevention Act. U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., introduced the federal bill March 8. According to union officials, the Health Care Workplace Violence Prevention Act would require the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to "develop a national standard on workplace violence prevention that would require healthcare facilities to develop and implement comprehensive facility and unit-specific workplace violence prevention plans."



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