Violence is now the third leading cause of occupational death and the fastest-growing type of homicide in the U.S. The cost of workplace violence is about 4 billion dollars annually, including employee injuries, property damage, lost productivity, lost sales, and negligence lawsuits. Hospital workers are about to become a little bit safer, thanks to a new law in Rhode Island. The Hospital Workplace Violence Protection Act, recently passed by the RI General Assembly, will require every hospital in Rhode Island to provide programs and controls to curb the threat of workplace physical violence to their employees. This Hospital Violence Protection Act will go into effect on January 15, 2022.
There are Five Key Components of the Hospital Workplace Violence Protection Act:
1. Notification of an Incident
All hospital employees in Rhode Island have the right to report any workplace violence incident to their employer, or directly to the RI Department of Health, without the threat of retaliation. Employees may request in writing to have their identity protected. The Act outlines the required documentation and follow-up actions.
2. Workplace Safety Assessments
All hospitals are required to have a safety committee whose purpose is to review incidents and conduct periodic security and safety assessments. At a minimum, each hospital committee shall keep track of the frequency of assaults that occur on site, identify the root cause(s) and consequences associated with each incident, and develop a site-specific Assault Prevention and Protection Program to address the risks for violence committed against hospital employees.
3. Assault Prevention and Protection Program
A formal Assault Prevention and Protection Program shall address the committee’s assessment findings including, but not limited to, security considerations related to the physical attributes of the hospital setting, staffing plans (including security staffing), personnel policies, first aid and emergency procedures, procedures for reporting assaults, and training for employees.
4. Safety Training
Hospitals are required to provide assault prevention and protection training to employees within 90 days of hire and on a regular and ongoing basis. Training may include classes, video recordings, brochures, verbal or written training or any other type of delivery method deemed appropriate for the employee’s job duties. The Act goes into detail with respect to content.
5. Retention of Records
The Act also specifically details what information is required when documenting a workplace violence incident using a standardized form. Hospitals shall maintain records for no fewer than 5 years following a reported incident.
Want to Learn More?
Register for a free Hospital Workplace Violence Protection Act webinar on November 3, 2021. This webinar is open to the public.
Hospital Workplace Violence Protection Act Resources:
- Beacon Mutual's Caregiver Safety Series (PDF guides): Safe Patient Interactions, Bite Release, Long Hair Grab, Short Hair Grab
More Training Opportunities
Beacon provides a specialized Caregiver Safety Training program developed with the needs of healthcare workers in mind.
In addition to the Online University, Beacon offers numerous seminars and webinars, including several Online OSHA 10-Hour Training courses free to our policyholders and clients. These webinars are presented by our partner, Advance Online Solutions (AOS), an OSHA authorized online outreach training provider.
About Beacon’s Safety Team
Beacon Mutual has the largest team of local ergonomic and safety professionals dedicated to creating safer workplaces in Rhode Island. Each experienced member of the team understands current safety and health issues and their potential impact on Rhode Island employers. Beacon Mutual is pleased to offer our policyholders a wide variety of educational programs to ensure a safe and productive workplace at no additional cost.
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