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Violent Jobs: Police Officers, Boxers…Healthcare Workers?

May 4, 2015 Legal Team

In 2009, an emergency room nurse at the Ventura County Medical Center encountered a violent and frightening patient who was only subdued after an equally violent counter. Around 2 am, a man entered the ER, brandishing a pair of scissors as a weapon. He was naked and drunk, covered in blood. He confronted and laughed at two nurses, then chased them around the department.

In order to arrest the attacker, two police officers and to use a Taser against him. The man finally fell after three zaps. After the violent incident, one of the nurses involved kept count every time a patient got violent or even threatened a hospital worker. The count was astonishing; on average, medical personnel was attacked at least one to two times a day.

This medical center is not unique in its findings. Hospital healthcare workers are often confronted with violent behavior, assaults, and threats against them from patients. The Labor Code seeks to mitigate these occurrences, with a new addition found in Labor Code §6401.8.

As per  code, hospitals must implement a workplace violence prevention plan to protect personnel from “aggressive and violent behavior.” These plans must be realized by July 1, 2016. Plans must include annual educational training for personnel, resources for employees who are coping from violent incidents, and a system of responding to incidents.

By January 1, 2017, hospital divisions must “in a manner that protects patient and employee confidentiality, shall post a report on its Internet Web site containing information regarding violent incidents at the hospitals, that includes, but is not limited to, the total number of reports, and which specific hospitals filed reports…”

Source: California Labor Code §6401.8 & LA Times