TORONTO – A progress report released by the Ontario government Leadership Table on workplace violence prevention in health care has produced 23 recommendations that are a first step to keeping Ontario health-care workers safe, says Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN.
• Ensure workplace violence policies are included in hospital quality improvement plans.
• Increase workplace supports for patients with known aggressive or violent behaviours.
• Ensure patients, families and staff provide input on triggers, behaviours and interventions.
• Create reporting systems for workplace violence incidents.
“Our members have the right to work in an environment that is free from all forms and sources of violence and harassment, and employers must strive to eliminate the risks. Violence should not be part of our jobs. I look forward to the continued development of practical solutions to ensure Ontario health-care workers and patients are safe,” said Haslam-Stroud, one of four members of the Executive Committee that provided strategic direction for the leadership group.
A joint initiative spearheaded by the Labour and Health and Long-Term Care ministers, the progress report is the result of the work done by the Leadership Table and its working groups since August 2015. The leadership group’s progress report, which focused on hospitals in its first phase, noted that “nurses play an integral role in providing care to patients in our hospitals, and because of their level of interaction with patients, they are the primary victims of workplace violence. That is unacceptable. Every worker in Ontario should expect a safe and healthy workplace.”
ONA will be working with the government this year to facilitate implementation of the 23 recommendations contained in the progress report, and will also advocate for the following eight key issues:
1. Include workplace violence indicators in hospital quality improvement plans.
2. Ensure all health-care workers have personal panic alarms.
3. Implement a root cause investigation tool.
4. Address staffing shortages that impact worker safety.
5. Conduct comprehensive risk assessments in health-care workplaces.
6. Provide risk identification/flagging/alert systems.
7. Strengthen the provincial enforcement initiative.
8. Change the critical injury regulation to include "an event of workplace violence."
“We have made progress but we have more work to do. We will continue to advocate to make our workplaces and our members safe,” said Haslam-Stroud.
ONA is the union representing 64,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 16,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, industry and clinics.