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New Cal-OSHA Rules Protect Health Care Workers

November 9, 2016 by

On October 21, 2016, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal-OSHA”) approved new rules requiring employers to take steps to reduce workplace violence against health care workers.

Cal-OSHA already requires all employers to develop a plan to prevent workplace injuries. Senate Bill 1299, passed earlier this year, required additional safeguards and specifically targeted health care employers. Workplace violence is a special concern in the health care field. Over half of the reported incidents involving workplace violence occur against workers in the health care and social assistance fields.

The new regulations apply to a wide variety of health care employers, including home health providers, hospices, emergency medical services, medical transport services, drug treatment programs, and medical providers in correctional and detention centers. Under the regulations, these employers must provide personal protective equipment, training, and medical services to employees. These measures must be taken at no cost to employees and on paid time.

The regulations define workplace violence as “any act of violence or threat of violence that occurs at the work site.” The definition includes acts of physical force, psychological trauma, and stress. Covered employers must conduct a site-specific assessment of the risk of violence in their facilities and develop plans to protect workers based on the assessment.


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