Nevada law aims to protect health care workers from on-the-job violence
Carson City, NV — Nevada has become the latest state to require hospitals and other health care facilities to create and implement workplace violence prevention programs and report incidents.
Signed into law June 12 by Gov. Steve Sisolak (D), A.B. 348 mandates that prevention programs be “unit specific” and created in collaboration with employees. The law defines workplace violence as any acts of violence or threats, even if the employee isn’t 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 retaliation.
- Establish effective training programs that include deescalation training for employees who have contact with patients.
- Provide methods for reporting certain incidents to the state’s Department of Industrial Relations.
The law applies to hospitals, psychiatric hospitals and at-home nursing employers with at least 50 employees, as well as immediate care, skilled nursing, community triage and modified medical detoxification facilities.
Laws similar to the Nevada 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 concluded.
On June 11, a national workplace violence bill (H.R. 1309) advanced out of the House Education and Labor Committee to the full House. The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Services Workers Act, sponsored by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), would require OSHA to develop a standard and give protections to public-sector workers in OSHA State Plan states.