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CalOSHA unveils new rules for workplace injuries due to violence

Employers may feel they already have a great many safety rules with which to comply. This spring, however, there will be even more as the California Division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration expands on federal guidelines for preventing workplace injuries due to violence. This comprehensive set of rules affects those who work in health care facilities, including home health care programs, addiction treatment programs and health facilities in correctional centers.

Employers will be required to write and maintain a plan for preventing violence on the job. This plan must include the identification of risk factors, such as the mental status of a patient, any history of violence or medications that may cause a patient to act violently. Health care facilities will be required to provide sufficient security staff to respond quickly to incidents.

Facilities must keep a log of any hazards they identify, including how the hazards were corrected. Staff must maintain records of violent incidents even if no one is injured. Employers are required to provide adequate training so that staff members will know how best to deal with situations that may escalate, and to keep accurate records of the training. All of these reports must be submitted to Cal/OSHA upon request.

Health care professionals often deal with unpredictable patients. Preventing workplace injuries is always preferred, but when dealing with people who are ill, this is not always possible. When a person is injured on the job in California, whether from a violent act or simply an accident, he or she will find compassionate guidance from a lawyer with years of experience helping others with workers' compensation claims.

Source: natlawreview.com, "Are You Ready for California's Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care Rule?", Carla J. Gunnin, Dec. 20, 2016

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