Effective April 1, 2017, a new California Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board regulation at Title 8, Section 3342 requires certain employers in the health care industry to develop and implement a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan. The employment lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley break down these new regulations that resulted from the California legislature's passage of Senate Bill 1299 (2013-2104), which instructed the Standards Board to implement workplace violence regulations.
What type of health care employers must adhere to the new regulations?
The scope of the regulation affects almost all health care facilities, medical groups, and several other care facilities including senior care centers, nursing homes, and retirement homes. The regulations apply to any “health facility,” defined as “any facility, place or building that is organized, maintained, and operated for diagnosis, care, prevention or treatment of human illness, physical or mental…to which  persons are admitted for a 24-hour stay or longer.”
Aside from the stated criteria regarding size of the facility and how long the patient is admitted, the following facilities must adhere to the new workplace violence regulations:
- Home health care and home-based hospice;
- Emergency medical services and medical transport, including services provided by firefighters and other emergency responders;
- Drug treatment programs;
- Outpatient medical services to the incarcerated in correctional and detention settings.
What Requirements go into effect April 1, 2017?
Reporting Workplace Violent Incidents – In general, acute care hospitals, acute psychiatric hospitals and special hospitals must report to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) any incident involving the use of physical force against an employee by a patient (or companion) that has “a high likelihood of resulting in, injury, psychological trauma, or stress”; or the use of a firearm or dangerous weapon. Reports must be submitted within 72 hours, unless more severe results occur such as the use of a firearm or weapon, or the act presents an urgent or emergent threat to the welfare, health or safety of hospital personnel. In the more severe cases, a report must be made within 24 hours.
Violent Incident Log – Also beginning April 1, 2017, applicable health care employers will need to keep a “violent incident log” listing all incidents, post-incident response and investigation of a workplace violence injury, based on information from the employees who experienced the workplace violence. The violent incident log must contain specific types of information spelled out in the regulations and be retained for a minimum of five years.
Workplace Violence Training Records – Covered employers must also create and retain records concerning training and workplace violence hazard identification, evaluation and correction starting April 1, 2017.
What Requirements go into effect April 1, 2018?
Workplace Violence Prevention Plan – By April 1, 2018, employers must have established a workplace violence prevention plan. Section 3342 (c) of the new regulation is a step-by-step directive of how the plan is to be established, implemented and maintained to ensure it is effective. The regulation includes procedures to ensure employees and their representatives participate in developing, implementing and reviewing the plan. The involvement includes their participation in identifying, evaluating and correcting workplace violence hazards, designing and implementing training, and reporting and investigating workplace violence incidents. The regulation contains nearly 50 separate instructions the employer is to consider, from employees working in isolated locations, to how to contact and obtain assistance from an appropriate law enforcement agency.
Employee Training – The requirements for employee training, also to be implemented by April 1, 2018, are covered in Section 3342 (f). This training is to be done when the plan is first established and for new hires or when assigned to another position that did not require initial training. Employers should have an effective procedure for obtaining the active involvement of employees and their representatives in developing curricula and training materials, participating in training sessions, and reviewing and revising the training program. The regulation specifies eight components the training must cover, including an explanation of the workplace violence prevention plan; how to recognize the potential for violence; factors contributing to the escalation of violence; strategies to avoid physical harm; and how to recognize alerts or other warnings about emergencies.
Questions about Title 8, Section 3342 or Workplace Violence Prevention in California?
For more information, see the complete text for Section 3342 or contact an experienced California employment lawyer. To discuss new regulations, or any of California's harassment laws, feel free to contact leading California employment lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley. Call toll-free at (888) 500-8469 or click here to contact us via email.