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Violence in the healthcare industry and a possible new solution

Those employed in the California healthcare and social service industries know all too well how violence can lead to workplace injuries. These workers deserve praise for choosing to work in potentially dangerous situations such as emergency rooms, correctional facilities and social service settings to name just a few. Unfortunately, praise alone is not enough to make victims as whole as possible in the wake of a violent encounter.

Just recently, Representative Joe Courtney reintroduced the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act. If passed, this act will require social service and health care employers to produce and carry out a comprehensive plan to prevent workplace violence. Below is a list of the act's important elements.

  • The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) will create a standard for employers to follow. OSHA will be required to come up with this standard as quickly as possible.
  • The act will apply to a large array of work settings such as hospitals, mental health clinics, residential treatment facilities, correctional and detention facilities, substance disorder treatment centers, group homes, medical clinics and many others.
  • Employers will be required to implement several key points in their prevention plans. Examples include improved violent encounter reporting methods, unit-specific safety assessments, adequate staffing for security as well as for patient care and making physical improvements to the working environment when necessary.

Workplace injuries caused by violence is a nationwide issue for all health care and social service workers. While workers' compensation can address a victim's losses when violent encounters occur, looking for prevention measures is a far better approach. Until the act becomes law, injured health care workers can find legal solutions by speaking with an injury attorney.

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Making a false or fraudulent workers’ compensation claim is a felony subject to 5 years in prison or up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

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