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Nevada bill seeks to protect health care workers from on-the-job violence

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Carson City, NV — Bipartisan legislation introduced in the Nevada State Assembly would require employers who operate medical facilities to create and implement workplace violence prevention programs and report incidents.

Under A.B. 348 – introduced March 18 and sponsored by Assemblymembers Michelle Gorelow (D-Las Vegas), Connie Munk (D-Las Vegas), Tom Roberts (R-Las Vegas) and Glen Leavitt (R-Boulder City) – the plans would have to be “unit specific” and created in collaboration with employees. The bill defines workplace violence as any acts of violence or threats, even if the employee is not injured.

In addition, plans must:

  • Show how employers will implement prevention measures, such as alarms and security response.
  • Include methods for employees to report all incidents of workplace violence without fear of reprisal.
  • Establish effective training programs that include de-escalation training for all employees who have contact with patients.
  • Provide methods for reporting certain incidents to the state’s Department of Industrial Relations.

Laws similar to the bill are in place in eight states, while Washington state mandates reporting of incidents, according to the American Nurses Association. A number of states have laws that carry higher penalties for assaults on health care workers, who are up to 12 times more likely to face workplace violence than any other profession, a 2016 Government Accountability Office study concludes.

 

“Workplace violence in health care is a growing menace and must be stopped,” Gorelow said in a March 24 press release from the labor union National Nurses United. “We have a duty to protect those nurses and other health care workers who care for us when we are at our most vulnerable.”

In February, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) reintroduced the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309), which calls on OSHA to create a federal standard addressing the issue.

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