Tag Archives: workplace violence

NEW LAW – Illinois Health Care Violence Prevention Act Takes Effect January 1st

Attention Illinois Healthcare employers.  Are you ready for the Health Care Violence Prevention Act?

On January 1, 2019, the Health Care Violence Prevention Act takes effect.  Under this new law, “retail health facilities”*, hospitals and veterans homes are required to:

  • Create a workplace violence plan that contains the following elements –
    • Complies with the OSHA guidelines for workplace violence
    • Classifications of workplace violence.
      • Type 1 violence: Workplace violence committed by a person who has no legitimate business at the work site and includes violent acts by anyone who enters the workplace with the intent to commit a crime.
      • Type 2 violence: Workplace violence directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, students, inmates, visitors, or other individuals accompanying a patient.
      • Type 3 violence: Workplace violence against an employee by a present or former employee, supervisor, or manager.
      • Type 4 violence: Workplace violence committed in the workplace by someone who does not work there, but has or is known to have had a personal relationship with an employee.
    • Management commitment and worker participation in the program. Worker participation should include nurses as well as additional staff.
    • Worksite analysis and identification of potential hazards.
    • Hazard prevention and control.
    • Safety and health training with required hours to be determined by rule.
    • Recordkeeping and evaluation of the violence prevention program.

In addition to the training requirements, employees are required to report to management any time they contact law enforcement or file a police report with law enforcement relating to a workplace violence issue.  This report must be made within 3 days of the contact with law enforcement.  Upon receiving notice, employers are required “post incident” services to any healthcare worker involved in the incident, which must include acute treatment and access to psychological evaluation.  Employers are prohibited from discouraging their employees from contacting law enforcement about a workplace violence issue.

It is recommended that all Illinois healthcare employers review the new law and ensure that they are compliant by January 1st.

*  Retail health facilities are defined as an institution, place, or building that is devoted to the maintenance and operation of a facility for the performance of health care services and is located within a retail store at a specific location, but excluding hospitals, ambulatory treatment centers, physicians’ offices and other facilities providing “limited healthcare services”), hospitals and veterans homes.

California Healthcare Employers – Are You Complying with the new Workplace Violence Safety Order?

On April 1, 2017, California’s new General Industry Safety Order (“Workplace Violence Prevention in Health care”) went into effect. This new safety order affects all California healthcare employers.

Specifically, the new safety order applies to the following healthcare facilities:

  • 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
  • Outpatient medical offices and clinics
  • Home health care and home-based hospice
  • Paramedic and emergency medical services, including paramedic and emergency services provided by firefighters and other emergency responders
  • Field operations such as mobile clinics and dispensing operations, medical outreach services, and other off-site operations
  • Drug treatment programs
  • Ancillary healthcare operationsWorkplace violence includes the following:
  • Under the new regulations, healthcare employers must take steps to eliminate “workplace violence” (i.e. any act of violence or threat of violence that occurs at the work site – excluding lawful acts of self-defense or defense of others).
  • The threat or use of physical force against an employee that results in, or has a high likelihood of resulting in, injury, psychological trauma, or stress, regardless of whether the employee sustains an injury;
  • An incident involving the threat or use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon, including the use of common objects as weapons, regardless of whether the employee sustains an injury;
  • Four workplace violence types:
    • “Type 1 violence” means workplace violence committed by a person who has no legitimate business at the work site, and includes violent acts by anyone who enters the workplace with the intent to commit a crime.
    • “Type 2 violence” means workplace violence directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, students, inmates, or visitors or other individuals accompanying a patient.
    • “Type 3 violence” means workplace violence against an employee by a present or former employee, supervisor, or manager.
    • “Type 4 violence” means workplace violence committed in the workplace by someone who does not work there, but has or is known to have had a personal relationship with an employee.

Develop a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

Healthcare employers must establish, implement and maintain an effective workplace violence prevention plan for all units of the workplace. This plan must be in writing and made available to all employees. In addition, the plan must include the following components:

  • Identify (by name or job title) the persons responsible for implementing the Plan;
  • Effective procedures to obtain the active involvement of employees and their representatives in developing, implementing, and reviewing the Plan, including their participation in identifying, evaluating, and correcting workplace violence hazards, designing and implementing training, and reporting and investigating workplace violence incidents;
  • Methods the employer will use to coordinate implementation of the Plan with other employers whose employees work in the same health care facility, service, or operation, to ensure that those employers and employees understand their respective roles as provided in the Plan;
  • Effective procedures for obtaining assistance from the appropriate law enforcement agency during all work shifts;
  • Effective procedures for the employer to accept and respond to reports of workplace violence and to prohibit retaliation against an employee who makes such a report;
  • Procedures to ensure that supervisory and non-supervisory employees comply with the Plan;
  • Procedures to communicate with employees regarding workplace violence matters;
  • Procedures to develop and provide training to employees that addresses workplace violence risks employees are reasonably anticipated to encounter on the job;
  • Assessment procedures to identify and evaluate environmental and community-based risk factors for each facility, unit, service, or operation, which shall include a review of all workplace violence incidents that occurred in the facility, service, or operation within the previous year, whether or not an injury occurred;
  • Procedures to identify and evaluate patient-specific risk factors and assess visitors or other persons who are not employees;
  • Procedures to correct workplace violence hazards in a timely manner; and
  • Procedures for post-incident response and investigation.

Finally, healthcare employers are required to review the plan and its effectiveness on an annual basis and correct any problems.

Maintain A “Violent Incident Log”

Healthcare employers must also maintain a “violent incident log” which records every incident, post-incident response, and workplace violence injury investigation in detail.

At a minimum the log must contain, the following:

  • The date, time, specific location, and department of the incident;
  • A detailed description of the incident;
  • A classification of who committed the violence;
  • A classification of circumstances at the time of the incident;
  • A classification of where the incident occurred;
  • The type of incident;
  • The consequences of the incident; and
  • Contact and other information about the person completing the log.

Employee Training

Employers must also train their employees on how to respond to the workplace violence risks that employees are “reasonably anticipated” to encounter in the workplace. This training must be “active training”, where the employees are actively involved in

  • Developing training program and training materials,
  • Participating in training sessions, and
  • Reviewing and revising the training program.

Employers are required to conduct the training at various times, including:

  • When the plan is first established and
  • When an employee is newly hired or newly assigned to perform duties for which the training was not previously provided;
  • When new equipment or work practices are introduced; and
  • When a new or previously unrecognized workplace violence hazard has been identified.

Recordkeeping Requirements

Employers are required to maintain records relating to their compliance with this new regulation – including:

  • Records of workplace violence hazard identification, evaluation, and correction,
  • Training records, and
  • Records of violent incidents.

Records must be made available to Cal/OSHA and employees upon request.

Cal/OSHA Takes a stand against Workplace Violence in the Healthcare industry

A recently-completed national study found health care workers are at a higher risk of workplace violence than the average worker in another industry. In addition, federal OSHA reported that from 2002 to 2013, the rate of serious workplace violence incidents (those requiring days off for an injured worker to recuperate) was more than four times greater in healthcare than in private industry on average.

In response to these findings, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA) unanimously passed a new General Industry Safety Order entitled “Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care”.

These new regulations, which go into effect on April 1, 2017, affect “healthcare employers”, which is broadly defined to include:

  • “healthcare facilities” (meaning 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 hospices,
  • emergency medical services and medical transports,
  • drug treatment programs and
  • outpatient medical services to those incarcerated in correctional and detention settings.

Under the new regulations, healthcare employers are tasked with taking 4 steps (discussed below) to eliminate “workplace violence”. For purposes of these regulations, “workplace violence” is defined as: any act of violence or threat of violence that occurs at the work site – excluding lawful acts of self-defense or defense of others. Workplace violence includes the following:

  • The threat or use of physical force against an employee that results in, or has a high likelihood of resulting in, injury, psychological trauma, or stress, regardless of whether the employee sustains an injury;
  • An incident involving the threat or use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon, including the use of common objects as weapons, regardless of whether the employee sustains an injury;
  • Four workplace violence types:
    • “Type 1 violence” means workplace violence committed by a person who has no legitimate business at the work site, and includes violent acts by anyone who enters the workplace with the intent to commit a crime.
    • “Type 2 violence” means workplace violence directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, students, inmates, or visitors or other individuals accompanying a patient.
    • “Type 3 violence” means workplace violence against an employee by a present or former employee, supervisor, or manager.
    • “Type 4 violence” means workplace violence committed in the workplace by someone who does not work there, but has or is known to have had a personal relationship with an employee.

Develop a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

Under the new regulations, healthcare employers are required to establish, implement and maintain an effective workplace violence prevention plan for all units of the workplace. This plan must be in writing and made available to all employees. In addition, the plan must include all of the following components:

  • Identify (by name or job title) the persons responsible for implementing the Plan;
  • Effective procedures to obtain the active involvement of employees and their representatives in developing, implementing, and reviewing the Plan, including their participation in identifying, evaluating, and correcting workplace violence hazards, designing and implementing training, and reporting and investigating workplace violence incidents;
  • Methods the employer will use to coordinate implementation of the Plan with other employers whose employees work in the same health care facility, service, or operation, to ensure that those employers and employees understand their respective roles as provided in the Plan;
  • Effective procedures for obtaining assistance from the appropriate law enforcement agency during all work shifts;
  • Effective procedures for the employer to accept and respond to reports of workplace violence and to prohibit retaliation against an employee who makes such a report;
  • Procedures to ensure that supervisory and non-supervisory employees comply with the Plan;
  • Procedures to communicate with employees regarding workplace violence matters;
  • Procedures to develop and provide training to employees that addresses workplace violence risks employees are reasonably anticipated to encounter on the job;
  • Assessment procedures to identify and evaluate environmental and community-based risk factors for each facility, unit, service, or operation, which shall include a review of all workplace violence incidents that occurred in the facility, service, or operation within the previous year, whether or not an injury occurred;
  • Procedures to identify and evaluate patient-specific risk factors and assess visitors or other persons who are not employees;
  • Procedures to correct workplace violence hazards in a timely manner; and
  • Procedures for post-incident response and investigation.

Finally, healthcare employers are required to review the plan and its effectiveness on an annual basis and correct any problems.

Maintain A “Violent Incident Log”

Employers are also required to maintain a “violent incident log” which records every incident, post-incident response, and workplace violence injury investigation in detail.

At a minimum the log must contain, the following:

  • The date, time, specific location, and department of the incident;
  • A detailed description of the incident;
  • A classification of who committed the violence;
  • A classification of circumstances at the time of the incident;
  • A classification of where the incident occurred;
  • The type of incident;
  • The consequences of the incident; and
  • Contact and other information about the person completing the log.

Employee Training

Employers are also required to train their employees on how to respond to the workplace violence risks that employees are “reasonably anticipated” to encounter in the workplace. This training must be “active training”, where the employees are actively involved in

  • Developing training program and training materials,
  • Participating in training sessions, and
  • Reviewing and revising the training program.

Employers required to conduct the training at various times, including:

  • When the plan is first established and
  • When an employee is newly hired or newly assigned to perform duties for which the training was not previously provided;
  • When new equipment or work practices are introduced; and
  • When a new or previously unrecognized workplace violence hazard has been identified.

Recordkeeping Requirements

Employers will be required to maintain records relating to their compliance with this new regulation – including:

  • Records of workplace violence hazard identification, evaluation, and correction,
  • Training records, and
  • Records of violent incidents.

Records must be made available to Cal/OSHA and employees upon request.

Next steps for healthcare employers

It is recommended that healthcare employers review the new regulations and start taking steps towards complying with the new requirements.

State Appellate Court in Texas Limits Employer Duty to Conduct Background Checks

In Ramiro Najera v. Recana Solutions, LLC, a state court of appeal in Texas was asked to consider whether employers have a duty to conduct background checks in order to prevent potential future incidents of violence against their employees.  In the case before it, an employee who was assaulted by a co-worker on-the-job alleged that the employer was negligent and breached its duty to hire, supervise, and retain competent and nonviolent employees.

In the ruling in favor of the employer, the court held that an employer does not have a duty to perform criminal background checks on employees where they are employed (or will be employed) in a position where there is no foreseeable risk of harm to others by reason of the employee’s job duties.  While not directly stated, the court’s decision implies that employers hiring for jobs involving foreseeable risks to others, such as private security, owe a duty to their current employees to thoroughly vet applicants to ensure they will not be a danger to their prospective co-workers or others.  

Employers Prepare for Firearm Concealed Carry Act

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/98/098-0063.htm

Overriding a gubernatorial veto, Illinois has enacted the Firearm Concealed Carry Act.  Employers may continue to prohibit the carrying of weapons on company property, however that may not include parking lots.  A concealed carry licensee must be permitted to store a firearm or ammunition concealed in a case within a locked vehicle or locked container out of plain view.  Employers who wish to prohibit weapons from their facilities should post a sign stating that carrying of firearms is prohibited and establish a related written policy.

Guns In Trunks Now Allowed

http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/108/Bill/SB0142.pdf

Tennessee has passed the “Guns in Trunks” law permitting a handgun-carry permit holder to lawfully store firearms and ammunition in their personal vehicles parked in public or private property, including at work, unless expressly prohibited by federal law.  The employee’s vehicle must be  parked in a location where it is permitted to be; and the firearm or ammunition being transported or stored in the vehicle is kept from ordinary observation if the permit holder is in the motor vehicle; or is kept from ordinary observation and locked within the trunk, glove box, or interior of the person’s privately owned motor vehicle or a container securely affixed to such vehicle if the permit holder is not in the vehicle.  The law is effective July 1, 2013 and employers should review and revise their policies to comply with the requirement.