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Health care workers face many violence-related threats

Violence threatens employees in various industries. Employers in the health care industry in California have to comply with regulations that came into effect on April 1, 2018. These rules were put in place to ensure the safety of health care workers by developing plans to prevent their exposure to workplace violence. Each facility must establish a unit-specific plan based on the standards set by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

Patients often threaten health care workers, and in some cases, family members or other visitors become violent or express threats to workers. Assault, bites and hair-pulling can happen in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, furniture, lamps and other objects can be used to harm health care workers.

The required standards apply to all facilities, including acute-care facilities, outpatient facilities and psychiatric hospitals. Also, all other nursing facilities, congregate living and intermediate care facilities. Violence threats also exist in correctional centers, drug treatment programs, medical transport and emergency medical services. Cal/OSHA also warns of the dangers posed by settings such as outpatient services in detention settings and those that treat incarcerated people.

Health care workers who are victims of workplace violence are eligible for workers' compensation insurance benefits. The legal and administrative steps of the benefits claims process could be challenging. The support and guidance of an experienced California workers' compensation attorney can simplify the process to obtain benefits. Injured workers typically receive compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages and any other benefits to which the worker might be entitled.

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