California healthcare employers will soon have a new regulation to comply with. On December 8, 2016, the state’s Office of Administrative Law approved new Section 3342 of the General Industry Safety Orders, Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care. The standard takes effect on April 1, 2017.
The new regulation aims to protect healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, home healthcare aides, and others, from the risk of assaults and other violence on the job. The regulation will apply to health facilities, home health care and home-based hospice, emergency medical services and medical transport (including when provided by firefighters and other emergency responders), drug treatment programs, and outpatient medical services offered to the incarcerated in correctional and detention settings.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), from 2002 to 2013, incidents of serious workplace violence (those requiring days away from work to recover) were four times more common in health care than in private industry on average. Patients are the most common source of these injuries, followed by other clients and customers.
Under the new rule, employers in the affected industries will be required to create and periodically review a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan, keep a violent incident log and other records, and train employees in workplace violence risks and preventive measures.
General acute care hospitals, acute psychiatric hospitals, and special hospitals must also report incidents of workplace violence that either result in or have a high likelihood of injury to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Incidents that result in injury, involve the use of a firearm or other dangerous weapon, or present “an urgent or emergent threat” to hospital personnel must be reported within 24 hours, while other incidents must be reported within 72 hours.