OLYMPIA – Workplace violence in health care settings is a common occurrence and up to five times more likely than other workplaces. Western State Hospital is one example that is of particular concern to local lawmakers. Rep. Mari Leavitt, D-University Place, has introduced HB 1931 to address violence in health care settings and help keep workers safe from harm while on the job.
HB 1931 creates stricter standards for health care workplaces in the required violence prevention plans. Those plans outline strategies to address security concerns and review factors that contribute to violence. Under the proposed change, those plans must be developed and implemented every three years, include review of the security systems and emergency responses, and identify security risks. In addition, the bill requires violence prevention training for all applicable employees, volunteers, and security personnel. Finally, it requires the employer to maintain records of violent acts for at least five years.
“Health care workers put themselves on the line every single day. Whether they are taking care of our loved ones and family members or treating violent offenders in a state hospital, they deserve to be in a violence-free workplace. They need a better process for tracking these violent incidents and, under this bill, health care employers will have better tools to keep their employees safe,” said Leavitt.
The bill passed out of the Labor & Workplace Standards committee on February 18.