On October 20, the Cal/OSHA Standard Board unanimously voted to adopt the first workplace violence prevention standard for healthcare workers in California. Our hope is that this Standard will be used as a template at the national level.
In 2010, Ingela Dahlgren, RN, and Kathy Hughes, RN, attended a rally to honor the memory of Dona Gross, a psychiatric technician at Napa State Mental Hospital, who was strangled to death by a patient while at work. This atrocity was the latest in a string of violent incidents which inspired the beginnings of a workplace safety movement which continues today.
While focused effort under strong leadership underpinned this successful campaign, the true heroes in the battle for a safe work environment are all the nurses and the health care workers in this great state of California.
What makes this victory so important?
Sharing their personal accounts of attacks, threats, and harassment in the workplace, healthcare workers retold their stories before the Cal/OSHA Standards Board to bring attention to the urgent need for regulatory change. These heart-breaking stories propelled the Cal/OSHA Standards Board to approve improvements in their regulations governing the management and operation of healthcare facilities throughout California.
This new Cal/OSHA Standard applies to most employers of nurses, health care workers, and the communities they serve in California. With this new regulation in place, Cal/OSHA is ready to implement workplace violence prevention measures in California and soon for the rest of the U.S.
At a more personal level…
The men and women who shared their stories are to be applauded for motivating the Committee to consider the importance of this issue at a very personal level. For the last couple of years, many SEIU Locals and the California State Council have supported our campaign financially and by actively participating in our rallies and events. We are very grateful for all their support and encouragement. We want to thank you again for your participation over the years!