New Item: Workplace violence and harassment: training for prevention – Workers Health & Safety Centre

It can not be said enough, harassment and violence in Canadian workplaces – should not be part of the job. And yet frustratingly it is. And the problem is growing. 

 

Earlier this week, we at Workers Health & Safety Centre (WHSC) reported on an important new national study that shows workplace harassment and violence is still a major issue, with a little more than 70 per cent of workers reporting they experienced at least one form of harassment and violence or sexual harassment and violence in the last two years.

 

In case you missed it, the study, a joint effort between Western University researchers and the Canadian Labour Council, was conducted between Oct. 21, 2020 and April 21, 2021 and included responses from 4,912 workers with at least 88 per cent being union members. Survey participants included workers from education, health care and social services and public administration sectors working in physical workspaces and virtually. For a quarter of respondents, the pandemic made things worse with an increase in severity, frequency and a fear of reporting as well as the tactics used by the harasser and perpetrator.

 
Be sure to read the full report.
 

Regardless of the type of work being performed and the location though – physical workplace, virtual or hybrid; education and awareness remains paramount. Workplace policies and programs need to be in place, one worker facing violence or harassment is one worker too many.

 
Training for compliance and worker safety whsc.on.ca/Training/Training-Registration
 

Every worker has the right to a safe workplace free from violence and harassment. Ontario Health and Safety Act provisions require employers to develop and implement workplace violence and harassment policies and programs. It’s not enough to have a written policy, employers have an obligation to provide all workers with information about their policies and provide training on programs implemented. Just as important, by law these policies and programs must be current and reviewed annually.

Are your workers safeguarded? Is your workplace fully compliant?

To help workplaces, WHSC, Ontario’s only government designated training centre, offers a Workplace Violence and Harassment Program. This three-hour training program scheduled in online, instructor-led virtual classrooms covers essentials for those creating a new workplace-specific program and policy or evaluating an existing workplace violence program.

 

Did you know, a policy is required regardless of workplace size and must be clearly posted in a workplace with six or more employees? Workplace violence includes acts that would constitute offences under Canada’s Criminal Code. Workplace harassment includes types of harassment prohibited under Ontario’s Human Rights Code. 

WHAT: Workplace Violence and Harassment – Virtual 
WHERE: Online, virtual classroom
WHEN: Wednesday, June 8 | 9:00AM-12:00PM
OR
Tuesday, June 21 | 9:00AM-12:00PM
COST: $75.00

Please note: Registration closes two weeks before each training date.

Benefits of our program…

Participants will:

  • review the definition of workplace violence and harassment and discuss risk factors associated with each.
  • evaluate tools necessary to identify and assess workplace violence hazards in order to implement effective control measures.
  • develop the knowledge necessary to help fulfill OHSA’s requirements including developing and posting written policies with respect to workplace violence, conducting a risk assessment, developing a workplace violence and harassment program and training workers regarding the specific workplace policies and programs.
  • learn about the employer’s duty to observe for evidence of domestic violence and to provide information about “a person with a history of violent behaviour.”

Additional resources:
Employer compliance checklist
Worker checklist
Workplace Harassment: from investigation to prevention
Workplace Violence: predictable and preventable
Domestic Violence in the Workplace: breaking the silence
 
Need more information?

Additional training: 

Check out all WHSC programs

Contact a 

WHSC training services representative in your area.

Email: 

contactus@whsc.on.ca

Visit: 

www.whsc.on.ca

Connect with and follow us on TwitterFacebookLinkedInInstagram and YouTube.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: MTA failed to report all assaults against workers, state finds – The Chief-Leader

BY CRYSTAL LEWIS

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority failed to report more than 200 assaults against workers in recent years, according to the state Department of Labor, which issued several violations against the agency as a result. 

The Labor Department’s Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau last month found that the MTA did not record 228 incidents of workplace violence in mandatory injury logs in 2019 and 2020. The bureau previously cited the MTA for similar violations in November 2019. 

It also said the MTA had failed to provide any of its 75,000 workers with workplace-violence prevention training in 2020, and did not give training to some employees in 2019. It also found gaps in the training program, which “did not inform employees … of the risk factors in their workplace … [or] the measures that employees can take to protect themselves.”

The MTA must address the violations by August.

‘Report speaks for itself’

The document was posted to social media earlier this month by Tramell Thompson, who is part of Transport Workers United Local 100’s Progressive Action caucus, and was first reported by the New York Post.

The Department of Labor confirmed the notice, noting that “the report speaks for itself, and the New York State Department of Labor is working with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to ensure compliance. Worker protection remains a top priority and Public Employee Safety and Health (PESH) investigates all valid complaints filed by public sector employees.”

The MTA’s inspector general similarly found last month that the agency failed to provide all workers with required training on subjects from ranging from sexual harassment to equal employment opportunity. Just one-third of subway employees completed workplace-violence prevention training in 2019, while 79 percent of workers in the bus division received instruction.

“Recognizing potentially dangerous or inappropriate workplace situations is how MTA can

prevent them from occurring in the first place,” said acting Inspector General Elizabeth

Keating. “It is critical that MTA workers complete these important, mandated courses.”

Workplace violence is a major issue for transportation workers. On May 15, a J train conductor was hit in the head with a glass bottle by an unruly passenger at the Broad Street station.

There have been 2,497 incidents of harassment and assault against MTA employees between May 10, 2021 and May 11 of this year, according to agency data.

‘Workers deserve better’

Thompson, a subway conductor, believed that the MTA needed to take better accountability for the safety of workers.

“The workers deserve better, the riders deserve better. We’re tired of them passing the ball to the mayor, the NYPD and legislators,” he said during a recent phone interview.

He added that the MTA needed to improve communication with its employees when an assault happens, citing one incident in which a conductor was hit with a BB gun but workers weren’t alerted about the attack.

“ ‘If you see something, say something’ — that’s their own motto,” Thompson said.

MTA spokesman Eugene Resnick said the agency “is committed to working with the New York State Department of Labor to ensure compliance with all State regulations related to the health and safety of employees. Worker protection remains a top priority for the MTA and we take all valid complaints filed by employees seriously.”

clewis@thechiefleader.com

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: North Carolina nurses press for fixes in the health care system during D.C. march – North Carolina Health News

By Rose Hoban

We’ve heard throughout the pandemic about nursing shortages, but there was no scarcity of nurses gathering this past Thursday in the nation’s capital.

Thousands of them, including many from North Carolina, marched from the White House to the U.S. Capitol to demand better working conditions that could ultimately benefit those in their care.

They rallied at the culmination of National Nurse Week, a seven-day celebration of the frontline workers that ends on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the 20th-century reformer often described as “the founder of modern nursing.”

The marchers hope to continue to reform modern nursing with better nurse-to-patient ratios and national laws setting staffing standards, fairer wages and statutes that protect them from the violence against health care workers highlighted by the pandemic.

Lalisa Fulwilie, a nurse working in Charlotte, said she had never participated in anything like the march. Her experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic compelled her to make the trip to Washington this year.

“[COVID] was as awful as you could think it was,” Fulwilie said. “It was as bad, if not worse than what they showed on TV. It’s not normal for people to see people die in front of you after they’ve only come in for a day or two. That’s not normal.”

Fulwilie and her colleagues went to hospital management asking for extra help to deal with the fatigue and stress created by caring for pandemic patients. They were galled by the response, when they were told to seek their own counseling, even as management publicly called them “heroes.”

“The hospital didn’t offer anything,” she said. Like most of the other nurses NC Health News spoke to, she declined to name her institution. “It was like, you know, ‘Keep going, keep going, the patients are still coming.’”

For Asheville-based nurse Heather Drummond, the pandemic was also the last straw. The pandemic exposed pre-existing fissures in health care, she said, showing how the system creaked and groaned under the onslaught of so many perilously sick patients. 

Nurses who gathered in Washington, D.C. carried signs asking for more staff members at patients’ bedsides and for Congress to take action on several laws. Photo credit: Rose Hoban

“We’re ready for our government to do something about the unsafe conditions in our hospitals,” Drummond said.

The frustrations that Drummond expressed were echoed by dozens of nurses interviewed by NC Health News. They marched because of higher workloads with sicker patients, lack of pay increases, lack of respect from hospital managers and burnout.

Almost to a person, the nurses said they hoped to build a national movement to push Congress to act.

‘Safe staffing saves lives’

One of the primary demands being made by nurses on the street was for the creation and implementation of national minimum staffing ratios for nurses at the bedside. 

California passed minimum nurse-patient staffing ratios in 1999 that many of the nurses said should be rolled out across the country. Nurses in California now care for fewer patients per shift than in  most of the rest of the country. 

“There are massive bodies of evidence that support these ratios and better outcomes for patients,” Drummond said.

Research from many decades has shown that adding registered nurses to a floor results in reduced chance of death for patients, fewer infections, fewer bedsores, fewer medication errors, less nurse burnout, better staff retention and higher patient satisfaction.

Durham emergency nurse Kristin Monesmith said she and her co-workers routinely care for too many patients on the night shift. Monesmith recounted how she was reprimanded recently after she, as the nurse in charge of delegating assignments and maintaining a smooth and efficient flow of care, stopped accepting patients into one of the emergency department “pods.” In the area, she had one staff nurse and two recent graduates who lacked significant experience and a  triage nurse who had to shift from her duty of assigning where patients would go to caring for them. They were tending to 10 patients.

“Every single patient they had was a critical care patient,” Monesmith recalled. “They coded one, they intubated three. All they did was run from one emergency to the next.”

In California, the standard staffing for critical care is two patients per nurse. 

Monesmith’s friend Krista Lee is a trauma nurse from Prospect Hill who works in a busy emergency department. When a trauma case comes, Lee said she shifts from working with emergency medical patients and moves to the area where trauma patients are taken. This leaves the nurses caring for critically ill patients shorthanded. 

She recounted how, on one recent shift, nine trauma patients came in overnight and she had to respond, leaving one coworker alone to care for eight critical care patients.

Other emergency department nurses told similar tales. 

“You have an ICU patient in the emergency department and you’re expected to take care of that ICU patient and three or four other patients, and you’re expected to give them the optimum care,” Jessica Burton, a nurse from Statesville, said. “However, you can’t because you have so much stuff and they’re hollering at you, ‘Get this patient in, get this patient through, get his question to the floor.’ But if there’s no beds on the floor, you’re stuck with four or five patients.”

Fulwilie said that when she started nursing in 1997, she would never have more than three patients in the ICU. 

“Now, I see our new nurses who have five or six patients at a time,” Fulwilie said. “Psych nurses … we’re having to run a unit with 18 and 20 psychotic patients and two nurses and maybe two techs.” 

Shows three nurses holding up signs asking for better staffing in hospitals, better pay.
Registered nurses Victoria Williams (l) and Sheree Hayes (r) who both work in North Carolina were in Washington with their nursing school friend Lucy Hudson (middle), who works in Tennessee, to demonstrate for better working conditions for nurses. The women said that too few staff create conditions for medical errors. Photo credit: Rose Hoban

“It’s a patient safety issue by having more patients than you can handle, which is stretching us and [we’re] basically not able to provide the care and the adequate care that they need,” said Victoria Williams, a nurse from Fayetteville. “Because you have so many patients, the patients are kind of neglected in a way, you know?”

Then her friend Lucy Hudson, a nurse from Tennessee, chimed in, “And it’s easy to make mistakes and when that happens they want to come for your license.” 

Chilling effect

Many of the nurses wore t-shirts and carried signs expressing solidarity with RaDonda Vaught, a Nashville-based nurse who was recently found guilty of negligent homicide after she made a medication error that resulted in a patient’s death. (Vaught was sentenced to  three years probation on Friday.)

Hudson, Williams and her nursing school friend Sheree Hayes said the chilling effect of the Vaught prosecution was leading them to reconsider the profession in light of the increased caseloads, which they said set them up for medical errors. 

The women pointed to research that shows that overburdened health care professionals are more prone to errors, especially in health care systems that force nurses to perform workarounds such as creating shortcuts to open electronic medication closets to get things done. That’s what allegedly happened in the Vaught case. 

“That’s why nurses are walking away from this profession, because we’re afraid because of something like that what happened and then we’re the ones to blame,” said Hayes, who works in Charlotte. 

They all argued that better staffing both reduces errors and improves patient outcomes.

A bill introduced to Congress on the day of the march, H.R. 3165, would require hospitals to submit plans to the federal Department of Health and Human Services that would comply with minimum nurse-to-patient ratios based on the California ratios.

The three, who all work as travel nurses, also were indignant that some lawmakers have suggested capping nurses’ salaries in the wake of the pandemic, which drove up the earning power of health care workers who were willing to move around and fill in at understaffed facilities during peak need. Many of the signs hoisted Thursday protested potential salary caps.

shows a woman in nurses scrubs standing in the middle of the road, with the U.S. Capitol behind her
Veronica Marshall, a nurse from Alabama, got the movement for nurses to march on Washington when she made a Facebook post last winter. Within a week, more than 170,000 nurses had joined the Facebook group. She said she hoped Thursday’s march would inspire more political activity.

“We want several bills to be passed,” she said, including one that addresses workplace violence and a national staffing ratio cap. Photo credit: Rose Hoban

‘We are not OK’

Veronica Marshall, a nurse from Alabama whose Facebook post sparked the idea for nurses to descend on Washington last week, said she was part of an online group where nurses were expressing their concerns in late January about conditions they were seeing in their facilities. 

“I made a suggestion, saying, ‘Hey, we need to march in D.C,’ and everyone responded to the post,” Marshall recalled. “They were like, ‘if you create it, we are coming.’”

That weekend, she created a Facebook group for the march. “By the following Friday, we had over 175,000 people in the group, now we have over 210,000 people.”
A U.S. Park Police spokesman said his agency does not make crowd estimates. March organizers claimed some 11,000 marchers filed down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to the Capitol. NC Health News estimated a similar amount using videos, photographs and the mapchecking.com crowd estimation tool.

The protest came together quickly and lacked some of the slick programming of larger demonstrations often seen in the nation’s capital. But the nurses made up for it in enthusiasm, making up chants, dancing, snapping selfies and carrying handmade signs as they waited and walked. Some of their messages included:

  • “Show-me state says show us safe ratios”;
  • “Safe staffing saves lives”;
  • “You need the bedpan, OK you’re 8th in line. Safe staffing ratios = dignified care.”;
  • “What’s your mom’s care worth?”; and 
  • “Patients over profits.”

One group of nurses carried signs made from pizza boxes, a reference to “pizza parties” given by hospitals for tired staff during the pandemic.

“I’ve seen a lot of protests but I’m thrilled that the nurses are here to have their voices heard,” said Scott Hasty, a Washington resident who watched from a corner as the nurses passed. “The medical system would crumble without them. After COVID, they should get whatever they want.”

Asking for action

Many of the signs called for Congressional action. One federal bill, H.R. 1195, would require health care and social service agencies to create comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans. The bill has passed the U.S. House of Representatives and is pending in the U.S. Senate. 

Multiple nurses recounted incidents of violence in the workplace, even students. Rileigh Shiver,  a student in the school of nursing at UNC Wilmington, said she had a frightening encounter with a patient during one of her clinical instruction rotations on the medical floor of a local hospital. 

“He grabs me and he … yanked me towards him,” Shiver said. “He was like, ‘I could throw you around if I wanted to.’ And as a nursing student …that’s a really scary situation to be in because I’m not even out in the field yet and I’m already having encounters with patients like that.” 

Shiver’s clinical instructor pulled her out of the room for the day and the charge nurse spoke to the patient, she said. The patient did not face consequences and Shiver did not receive counseling from the hospital management. 

Charlotte-based psychiatric nurse Erika Melson peeled back a bandage on her wrist to display a circular wound, the result of a patient biting her as she attempted to keep him from choking a coworker. 

a woman who is a nurse shows off a round wound on her left wrist that's covered by a large Band Aid.
Charlotte-based psychiatric nurse Erika Melson shows off a bite wound that she received when she tried to pull a patient who was choking a co-worker. Melson has been a nurse for 22 years, “and I’ve seen a sharp decline in respect for nurses.”

“I want some respect for what I do for my education and for my longevity and expertise in this profession,” she said.

“I had 10 days of antibiotics and this is possibly a permanent scar, she said. “But I wasn’t the one being choked to death, having somebody trying to twist my neck off.” 

Melson’s friend Fulwilie complained about the response from managers after nurses are subject to workplace violence, echoing a commonly heard complaint among marchers.

“What could you have done differently,” managers ask.

“But nobody is taking into account that you’re understaffed and overpopulated with people, and that population is getting sicker,” Fulwilie said. “There’s more violent patients coming in and they’re not doing anything to protect the nurses who are in the frontline.” 

Many of the nurses who marched were energized and ready to chart new paths at home. 

“I want to bring these changes and ideas and stuff back home to North Carolina,” said Chris Gilbert, an Air Force veteran-turned psychiatric nurse based in Mooresville. He might even run for elected office, he said.

“The public overall, they trust nurses,” Gilbert said “When they see that there’s nurses out there telling them what’s happening in hospitals, this is where those organizations are gonna really think twice.

“If thousands of nurses paid out their own dollar to come out here, I can’t imagine the ones who couldn’t make it.”

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North Carolina nurses press for fixes in the health care system during D.C. march

by Rose Hoban, North Carolina Health News
May 16, 2022

1

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Goshenite among nurses protesting in DC explains why – The Warwick Advertiser

To the editor:

Over 12,000 nurses who were part of the National Nurses March joined together in our nation’s capital on Thursday, May 12, to protest unsafe issues affecting healthcare. The three main concerns affecting nurses and healthcare providers are unsafe staffing ratios, violence in the workplace and the proposal to unfairly cap nursing wages.

Staffing ratios have a direct and correlating direct effect on the quality of care provided, yet only the state of California has state mandated nurse to patient ratios depending on specialty. Nurses have pleaded for years to have national state mandated nurse to patient ratios, but since it would directly affect the healthcare facilities profit margin no other state has implemented the ratios. Healthcare facilities argue that the ratios would cause an increased nursing shortage and would greatly increase administrative costs, so they are allowed to compromise the quality of healthcare in the name of profit.

As a result, nurses and healthcare workers are forced to work short staffed and extended shifts, often against their will, to compensate for the lack of adequate staffing ratios. They are set up to fail in a broken system and expected to function without error or delay.

When a medical error does occur due to the unsafe working conditions, they are now being charged with a felony charge such as in the case of RaDonda Vaught, the nurse from Vanderbilt Hospital. There is an obvious and inherent disparity in consequences for medical errors for the nursing profession, which is made up of mostly women and minorities, compared to the male dominated physician field. A prime example is the case of Ohio Dr. William Husel who was acquitted of fourteen counts of killing patient with a fentanyl overdose, while the nurses who acted under his medical orders are now being investigated for felony murder charges.

Healthcare violence is a very real and prevalent increasing concern, yet healthcare facilities have done nothing to protect their nurses and healthcare workers. Healthcare employees are routinely subjected to threats, harassment, physical assault, sexual assault, and intimidation. Workplace violence in healthcare is grossly under reported due to a lack of faith in the healthcare system, lack of policy to deal with violence while supporting staff and as a direct fear of retaliation from employers.

Many healthcare workers who are victims of workplace violence are often further victimized by their employers and often accused of somehow causing the violent attack instead of acknowledging they as employers failed to provide a safe working environment. Healthcare facilities must be mandated on a national level to develop a universal strategy to combat violence. Healthcare violence has become a silent epidemic causing nursing burnout. As a direct result our nation is facing a critical nursing shortage.

Instead of addressing the real issues in healthcare and making an action plan to enhance healthcare, politicians are now being pressured by healthcare administrators to place an unfair wage cap on travel nursing salaries. Top healthcare executives were never on the frontline of Covid-19, yet they continued to collect their millions of dollars in salaries and bonuses while they repress healthcare workers who sacrifice time away from families in an unfamiliar area to provide direct patient care. The decision to limit salaries are again based on personal greed and fear that they will have decreased profit margin, with little regard to how these salaries will negatively impact an already crippled system and further exacerbate the nursing shortage.

Now is the time that our political leaders need to start advocating for healthcare workers so that our current healthcare staffing crisis does not spiral out of control. This past week nurses and healthcare workers from all over our nation joined together to advocate for these critical issues. and yet the media coverage was minimal to nonexistent and there was no political support for the efforts made by these amazing individuals.

Nurses have always been the advocates for patients; we now need our leaders to stand up and start advocating for us. Giving nurses pizza parties when they bring real issues to the table is not the solution to fix our broken healthcare system. We went from being called heroes last year to being treated like zeros this year. Our nation needs to make these healthcare concerns a priority and implement an immediate and direct action plan otherwise you may find yourself without the life saving care you may someday require.

Romie Canale

Goshen

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Cal/OSHA Proposes Revisions to Workplace Violence Prevention Requirements – Ogletree Deakins

On May 17, 2022, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) released a revised discussion draft of a proposed regulation for workplace violence prevention in the general industry standards. If adopted, the regulation would become section 3343 under GISO Chapter 4, Subchapter 7 of Title 8 California Code of Regulations. The division is seeking input on the proposed revisions and is inviting interested parties to submit written comments by July 18, 2022.

Definition Changes

The revisions would include definition changes to a number of terms, including the following.

“Threat of violence”

The proposed rule would remove the reference to “physically” injured. The revised definition would provide that “a statement or conduct that causes a person to fear for their safety because there is a reasonable possibility the person might be injured, and that serves no legitimate purpose,” would constitute a threat of violence.

“Workplace violence”

This term would no longer include “lawful acts of self-defense or defense of others,” or “self-inflicted harm that does involve violence or threats of violence to others.” Rather, “workplace violence” would be defined as “any act of violence or threat of violence that occurs in a place of employment.”

Further revisions would include Cal/OSHA’s elimination of the definitions of “chief,” “division,” and “union representative.”

Workplace Violence Prevention Plans

Workplace violence prevention plans are currently required to be in writing and available to employees. Cal/OSHA proposed that employers also make the plans available to “authorized employee representatives.”

Under the current rules, employers are required to involve employees and union representatives when developing and implementing a workplace violence prevention plan. The proposed rule would provide that employers involve employees and “authorized employee representatives”—that is, not only union representatives—in the development and implementation of their plans.

The proposal would specify that “when applicable,” an employer would be required to include “[m]ethods the employer will use to coordinate implementation of the [p]lan with other employers.”

Procedures to respond to workplace violence emergencies (which would no longer specifically include active shooter threats) would include “[a]pplicable procedures to obtain help from staff, if any, assigned to respond to workplace violence emergencies.”

Under the current rules, employers are required to have procedures to review their plans periodically and after a “workplace violence incident that results in an injury.” The proposal would eliminate “that results in an injury.”

Violent Incident Logs

Employers would still be required to maintain a violent incident log, but Cal/OSHA is proposing minor revisions. Employers would be required to record or include:

  • the date, time, and location of the incident, but without reference to the “specific” location;
  • a description of the incident, but the proposal would delete the rule’s examples/types of descriptors (e.g., biting, use of weapons); and
  • consequences of the incident, but not whether medical treatment was provided or whether anyone provided necessary assistance to conclude the incident and whether employees lost any time from work.

The proposal would also require employers to record information in the log about “every workplace violence incident”—not just those that result in an injury. Currently, employers are required to have procedures for a post-incident response and investigation and to include those procedures in the violent incident log. The proposal would eliminate the requirement to include the post-incident response and investigation in the log.

Training Requirements

The proposal would require employers to “provide employees with general awareness training on workplace violence that includes: the employer’s [p]lan, how to obtain a copy of the employer’s plan, how to participate in development and implementation of the employer’s [p]lan, the definitions and requirements in this section, and how to report workplace violence incidents or concerns to the employer without fear of reprisal.”

Employers that had a workplace violence incident within the previous five years would be required to provide training to employees that includes “[w]orkplace violence hazards specific to the employees’ jobs,” corrective measures that have been implemented, and how employees can “seek assistance to prevent or respond to violence, and strategies to avoid physical harm.”

Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the proposed Workplace Violence Prevention regulation and will post updates on the firm’s California and Workplace Safety and Health blogs. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Cal/OSHA Proposed A Regulation For Workplace Violence Prevention – The National Law Review

On May 17, 2022, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) released a revised discussion draft of a proposed regulation for workplace violence prevention in the general industry standards. If adopted, the regulation would become section 3343 under GISO Chapter 4, Subchapter 7 of Title 8 California Code of Regulations. The division is seeking input on the proposed revisions and is inviting interested parties to submit written comments by July 18, 2022.

Definition Changes

The revisions would include definition changes to a number of terms, including the following.

“Threat of violence”

The proposed rule would remove the reference to “physically” injured. The revised definition would provide that “a statement or conduct that causes a person to fear for their safety because there is a reasonable possibility the person might be injured, and that serves no legitimate purpose,” would constitute a threat of violence.

“Workplace violence”

This term would no longer include “lawful acts of self-defense or defense of others,” or “self-inflicted harm that does involve violence or threats of violence to others.” Rather, “workplace violence” would be defined as “any act of violence or threat of violence that occurs in a place of employment.”

Further revisions would include Cal/OSHA’s elimination of the definitions of “chief,” “division,” and “union representative.”

Workplace Violence Prevention Plans

Workplace violence prevention plans are currently required to be in writing and available to employees. Cal/OSHA proposed that employers also make the plans available to “authorized employee representatives.”

Under the current rules, employers are required to involve employees and union representatives when developing and implementing a workplace violence prevention plan. The proposed rule would provide that employers involve employees and “authorized employee representatives”—that is, not only union representatives—in the development and implementation of their plans.

The proposal would specify that “when applicable,” an employer would be required to include “[m]ethods the employer will use to coordinate implementation of the [p]lan with other employers.”

Procedures to respond to workplace violence emergencies (which would no longer specifically include active shooter threats) would include “[a]pplicable procedures to obtain help from staff, if any, assigned to respond to workplace violence emergencies.”

Under the current rules, employers are required to have procedures to review their plans periodically and after a “workplace violence incident that results in an injury.” The proposal would eliminate “that results in an injury.”

Violent Incident Logs

Employers would still be required to maintain a violent incident log, but Cal/OSHA is proposing minor revisions. Employers would be required to record or include:

  • the date, time, and location of the incident, but without reference to the “specific” location;

  • a description of the incident, but the proposal would delete the rule’s examples/types of descriptors (e.g., biting, use of weapons); and

  • consequences of the incident, but not whether medical treatment was provided or whether anyone provided necessary assistance to conclude the incident and whether employees lost any time from work.

The proposal would also require employers to record information in the log about “every workplace violence incident”—not just those that result in an injury. Currently, employers are required to have procedures for a post-incident response and investigation and to include those procedures in the violent incident log. The proposal would eliminate the requirement to include the post-incident response and investigation in the log.

Training Requirements

The proposal would require employers to “provide employees with general awareness training on workplace violence that includes: the employer’s [p]lan, how to obtain a copy of the employer’s plan, how to participate in development and implementation of the employer’s [p]lan, the definitions and requirements in this section, and how to report workplace violence incidents or concerns to the employer without fear of reprisal.”

Employers that had a workplace violence incident within the previous five years would be required to provide training to employees that includes “[w]orkplace violence hazards specific to the employees’ jobs,” corrective measures that have been implemented, and how employees can “seek assistance to prevent or respond to violence, and strategies to avoid physical harm.”

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Billings inmate allegedly took nurse hostage, smashed cruiser window in escape attempt – Billings Gazette

A Billings man is facing multiple felonies after allegedly taking a nurse by the neck, then smashing his way out of a cruiser, in an attempt to escape from custody Thursday.

Colbey James Bradley, 39, has been charged in Yellowstone County District Court with one count of aggravated kidnapping and two counts of attempted escape. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Bradley was in the custody of Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office personnel on Thursday when deputies took him to the Billings Clinic for medical treatment. He was detained on a $10,000 warrant issued for his arrest out of Billings Municipal Court, according to court documents.

While being treated, Bradley pulled an IV out of his arm and used the bathroom. When he returned, two nurses came into the room to replace his IV. A YCSO officer maintaining custody over Bradley stepped back to allow the nurses to do their job, charging documents say. After the IV was replaced, one of the nurses turned to leave. Bradley allegedly put his hand at her throat, and said he had a “shank.”

Court documents allege that Bradley threatened to kill the nurse if the officer didn’t let him go. The officer tried ordering Bradley to release the nurse while the inmate pulled her into a hallway and toward a stairwell. After Billings Clinic Security arrived, the officer saw that Bradley’s hand was empty. He rushed Bradley, placing him in an arm bar. A security officer tazed Bradley. Once Bradley stopped resisting, the officer handcuffed him. 

A Billings police officer who responded to the scene spoke with several witnesses, court documents say, including the nurse who Bradley allegedly tried to kidnap. The officer saw scratches on her neck.

Officers put Bradley in a YCSO patrol vehicle to take him back to Yellowstone County Detention Facility, and he allegedly started “banging his head” on the divider between him and the driver. As the vehicle rushed down 27th Street on its way to the jail, Bradley then kicked out a passenger window, shattering the glass, and tried to climb out, documents said.

Half of Bradley’s body was hanging out the window when the driver slowed the vehicle. When it came to a stop, Bradley flopped onto the ground. The same YCSO officer who had pulled Bradley away from the Billings Clinic nurse again detained him until Billings police arrived. Officers put him in a vehicle with side-door barriers, court documents say, and he was processed back into YCDF. County prosecutors filed charges against Bradley on Friday. 

Health care workers are up to five times more likely to be injured by workplace violence than any other worker in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nurses and emergency medical technicians are especially vulnerable to violence, which has increased since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this month that would require health care and social service employers to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan. A House version of the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act was passed in April 2021.

Bradley was on parole at the time of the alleged kidnapping and escape attempts. He was previously sentenced in Yellowstone and Silver Bow counties for several offenses that included theft, forgery and burglary.

If convicted of aggravated kidnapping, Bradley could be imprisoned for the rest of his life and face a fine of up to $50,000. A conviction for attempted escape in Montana comes with the possibility of up to 20 years in prison.

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Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Going outside Sarnia for new police chief ‘not abnormal’: expert – Sarnia Observer

Going outside Sarnia for new police chief ‘not abnormal’: expert

The drawn-out timeline and decision to hire a new Sarnia police chief from an external force is not abnormal, an expert says.

Derek Davis, a superintendent with Halton Regional police, has been named chief designate in Sarnia by the board overseeing the city's police force, Sarnia police said Friday in a statement. (Sarnia police)
Derek Davis, a superintendent with Halton Regional police, has been named chief designate in Sarnia by the board overseeing the city’s police force, Sarnia police said Friday in a statement. (Sarnia police)

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The drawn-out timeline and decision to hire a new Sarnia police chief from an external force is not abnormal, an expert says.

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Following months of closed-door meetings – and with less than two weeks left in soon-to-be-retired Chief Norm Hansen’s tenure – the board overseeing Sarnia’s police finally nabbed its new top cop. Derek Davis, a 48-year-old Halton Regional police superintendent, was named Sarnia’s chief designate Friday in a statement from the board that at least one former member felt took too long to come out.

“An opportunity to lead a police organization like the Sarnia Police Service is certainly one of those lifetime opportunities that I couldn’t pass down,” Davis told The Observer over the phone from Burlington shortly after the announcement came out.

Davis has first-hand experience in criminal investigations, traffic, guns and gangs, training bureaus, and front-line patrol, the statement said. He has diplomas from McMaster University and Western University, and is the vice-chair of the MADD Canada national board.

But what he doesn’t have is first-hand knowledge of the Sarnia area – yet.

“I’m coming in as an open mind, a new external person,” Davis said. “I certainly recognize a very steep learning curve. I’m looking forward to living and meeting everyone in the Sarnia community. It’s an exciting time for both me and my family.”

Laura Huey, a Western University sociology professor who studies policing, said across Ontario boards vary in their decisions to hire internally versus going outside their organization.

“It’s a real mix,” she said.

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Huey said boards typically look for a new chief with a certain skillset or leadership style they want to filter down through the organization.

“So you’re looking for something that you think you currently don’t have internally that you’d like to bring in,” she said.

The decision to hire an outside top cop comes on the heels of recent workplace discrimination, harassment, assault and racism complaints. A third-party report – not released publicly – was summarized by Hansen in early 2021 as finding no evidence of harassment, discrimination, or workplace violence, but instead found pervasive gossip throughout the department.

An Ontario Ministry of Labour report from April 2021 called the third-party report flawed, and said Toronto lawyer Helen Daniel did not interview six witnesses referenced by a complainant, and misapplied the definition of workplace harassment. An “amicable resolution of the disputes” was subsequently reached with one of the complainant officers, Hansen said in a May 2021 statement.

Coun. Dave Boushy, a Sarnia police services board member, was adamant the decision to hire externally had nothing to do with the Daniel report.

“Wasn’t even mentioned once,” he said Friday.

Davis said he hasn’t read the report and couldn’t comment Friday whether he will release the document after he takes over the role.

“One of my first priorities when I get there is to learn and be informed and to talk with everyone and to get up to speed on some of the historical concerns, as well as planning the future,” he said.

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Sarnia police Chief Norm Hansen has announced he’ll retire June 1. Hansen has been with the Sarnia Police Service since 1985. He’s pictured here at the 2021 National Indigenous Veterans Day remembrance service at the Aamjiwnaang First Nation cenotaph. (Paul Morden/ The Observer)
Sarnia police Chief Norm Hansen has announced he’ll retire June 1. Hansen has been with the Sarnia Police Service since 1985. He’s pictured here at the 2021 National Indigenous Veterans Day remembrance service at the Aamjiwnaang First Nation cenotaph. (Paul Morden/ The Observer) Photo by Paul Morden /The Observer

Hansen’s June 1 retirement was announced in mid-January. The statement was released shortly before noon Friday, less than 18 hours after Coun. Mike Stark sent an email to board chairperson Mike Bradley, the city’s chief administrator and the rest of council asking when the hire will be made public.

When asked Friday about his email, Stark said it seemed odd this month’s public police services board meeting was cancelled without an announcement regarding the new chief.

“All I knew is that there was a successful candidate ,and I wondered why it was taking so long to announce it,” he said. “That being the case, I’m pleased to hear that they obviously corrected that problem.”

Boushy said there wasn’t a delay in making the announcement, there were simply a lot of candidates and a lot of meetings, so “we took a long time to do it.”

“That’s not abnormal,” Huey said of the nearly six-month timeline and cutting it somewhat close to the outgoing chief’s departure date.

The hiring process generally starts with recruiters going out and identifying people who would be interested in the job, she said, which can lead to a lot of applicants.

“You’ve got to go through all of them. They do the pre-screening before you make your shortlist,” she said. “It can take quite a bit of time.

Davis, who called the hiring process professional, said he and the board were finalizing outstanding legal issues and his contract over the past week-plus leading up to Friday’s announcement.

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It’s not clear if all members of the five-person police board were in favour of hiring Davis. Boushy, a veteran city councillor who’s served on the board multiple times, said he couldn’t comment on what was said during their closed meetings.

He did say multiple times, though, it was a majority decision.

Shamel Hosni, another board member, said he was impressed with Davis’s credentials, thought process, preparedness, confidence and passion for policing.

“As part of the interview process, his case study presentation was outstanding. He is well spoken, calm and articulate,” Hosni said Friday via email. “Mr. Davis is experienced in continuous improvement, a process where issues are analyzed and procedures developed to prevent a recurrence.”

Bradley said he didn’t have much to add beyond what was in Friday’s statement, which mostly contained Davis’s bio and welcomed him to the city.

“The board has made a choice, and (I) respect the decision of the board,” he said.

Huey confirmed the board’s decision only has to be a majority and not unanimous but added she wished police boards were more transparent in their hiring processes.

“I realize that there’s limitations to how transparent they can be about hiring decisions, but still it would be nice to know more,” she said.

Saturday marks Hansen’s 37th year with the local force. He was named Sarnia’s top cop in 2018, taking over from former police chief Phil Nelson.

On June 1, he’ll pass the baton off to Davis, who said listening and learning will be his top priority.

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“I have no preconceived position on anything yet. I wanted to have some time to be able to learn, to meet people, to talk to everyone, to develop some priorities, and then we’ll work collaboratively with the board and figure out what the next steps will be,” he said.

Const. Giovanni Sottosanti, a Sarnia police spokesperson, said Friday he can’t comment on the hire.

Miro Soucek, president of the Sarnia Police Association, said he can’t comment on the hiring process.

“I’d like to congratulate chief Davis on his success within the promotion competition,” he added.

-with files from Tyler Kula

tbridge@postmedia.com

@ObserverTerry

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Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Columbus Partner Discusses Best Practices for Mitigating Workplace Violence – Fisher Phillips

In an interview with International Employment Lawyer, Mathew Parker discusses best practices for mitigating workplace violence and trauma that potentially follows.

Mathew says that employers should start by attempting whenever possible to defuse incidents before they turn violent. In the case that there is an incident, employers should turn their attention to staff and offer any available resources.

“Many experts stress that employers should place an emphasis on providing emotional support to impacted employees, like through an employee assistance program, or similar, which provides counselling, assessments, or referrals,” Mathew explains.

Additionally, Mathew suggests creating a Threat Assessment Team, conducting a safety audit and being mindful of any potential stressors that can be a catalyst for workplace violence.

To read the article visit International Employment Lawyer (subscription required).

Source: Ross Arrowsmith