Press Release: Rampant Workplace Violence in California Hospitals Puts Safety of Nurses and Patients at Risk

May 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                       
May 4, 2015 

Rampant Workplace Violence in California Hospitals
Puts Safety of Nurses and Patients at Risk

LOS ANGELES – Workplace violence has been rampant nationwide and in California hospitals for many years. With no prevention programs in place to protect nurses and health care professionals from unexpected on-the-job assaults, this unregulated threat is not only harming health care workers on a daily basis, it is a public safety issue that threatens the safety of patients who entrust their lives and care to these facilities.

“When a crazed family member hurled a chair at me while I held a three month old baby, I had no recourse. I had nowhere to turn and the incident fell on deaf ears,” said Rosa Carcamo, RN who works in Lynwood, CA.

“A patient punched me in the back of the head, slamming my head into a concrete wall and I was temporarily blinded,” said Liz Hawkins in describing the nightmare she faced as an RN in a Riverside emergency room.

“A patient placed my coworker in a chokehold and threatened to strike at her jugular,” said Marilen Castañon, RN in Lynwood, CA. “If we had a workplace violence prevention plan in place and underwent regular trainings, we would have been better equipped to manage the situation.”

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) is in the process of drafting regulations and a prevention plan for all hospitals in the state of California, but we cannot allow for watered down regulations.

“California has always been at the helm of progress, charting new courses in health care. We lead the nation in setting precedents and standards to bring about necessary change,” said United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) Executive Vice President Denise Duncan, RN. “The proposed regulations would create a prevention plan, track incidents, provide training, and are a good first step towards preventing workplace violence. We need to continue to ensure enforceable safety measures are put in place to protect health care workers from aggressive and violent behavior. Once again, California has the chance to be the model for the rest of the country. We can set the course to end workplace violence in hospitals.”

Nurses and health care professionals with UNAC/UHCP are asking for the public’s support to ensure the final regulations put the safety of both patients and health care workers first. Join more than 13,000 nurses, health care professionals and community members in asking Cal/OSHA to put protections and a workplace violence prevention plan in place in California right away by signing this petition and sharing on social networks: https://www.change.org/p/california-division-of-occupational-safety-and-health-help-stop-violent-attacks-on-health-care-workers


UNAC/UHCP represents 25,000 registered nurses and other health care professionals, including optometrists; pharmacists; physical, occupational and speech therapists; nurse midwives; social workers; clinical lab scientists; physician assistants and nurse practitioners. UNAC/UHCP is affiliated with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees (NUHHCE) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO. For more information, please visit www.unacuhcp.org