SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Legislation backed by state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, requiring hospitals and other health care facilities to develop a workplace violence prevention program to help address increased violence toward registered nurses took effect on Jan. 1 of this year.
“After hearing about recent acts of violence committed against nurses and other medical professionals, it was clear that something needed to be done to prevent these threatening incidents from happening in the future,” Stuart said. “The Health Care Violence Prevention Act will bring about better safety guidelines to protect nurses moving forward and help prevent attacks that could put their patients at risk.”
The Stuart-backed House Bill 4100 was introduced in response to two recent events in Illinois, in which nurses and hospital workers were held hostage and assaulted. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that nearly 2 million workers experience workplace violence each year, with serious incidents occurring more frequently in the health care setting than in any other profession.
The Health Care Violence Prevention Act aims to decrease the number of health care workers experiencing workplace violence by requiring hospitals and medical facilities to create and implement workplace violence prevention programs that adhere to existing OSHA guidelines. The Act also requires the establishment of intake and treatment protocols for potentially violent patients transferred from correctional facilities, and plans of action for in-hospital emergencies.
“Nurses and hospital workers have dedicated their careers to saving lives and caring for others,” Stuart said. “This new law will help protect them from dangerous situations and address the ongoing issues that can lead to workplace violence.”