Press Release: UNAC/UHCP Nurses Testify Against Workplace Violence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                       
February 6, 2015 

UNAC/UHCP Nurses Testify Against Workplace Violence
Cal/OHSA Holds Hearing on Health Care Workplace Violence Epidemic

LOS ANGELES – Dozens of nurses in Southern California corralled into a room to testify before the Cal/OSHA board for over seven hours demanding they take immediate steps to address the crisis of workplace violence among health care workers and enforce measures to prevent it.

The workplace violence prevention hearing was a result of SB 1299, a bill authored by California State Senator Alex Padilla, which mandates that Cal/OSHA adopt standards that require hospitals and other facilities to put a workplace violence prevention plan in place as part of the hospital’s injury and illness prevention plan to protect health care workers from aggressive and violent behavior.

Violence against health care workers is a widespread ongoing epidemic threatening the safety and lives of health care workers nationwide. The attack rate on health care workers is second only to that of police officers. The actual rate of assaults is higher than published in literature, but due to underreporting and the belief that violence comes with the job, numbers don’t accurately reflect the rate of violence.

Workplace violence leads to lower productivity, sick-leave, low morale, absenteeism, a disruption in job satisfaction and staff turnover.i On average a health care provider loses 11 days a year.ii When nurses leave the profession it exacerbates an already critical nursing shortage and the cost of hiring nurses rises.iii


UNAC/UHCP represents over 25,000 registered nurses and other health care professionals, including optometrists; pharmacists; physical, occupational and speech therapists; nurse midwives; social workers; clinical lab scientists; physician assistants and nurse practitioners. UNAC/UHCP is affiliated with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO.


i “Violence Against Nurses and its Impact on Stress and Productivity,” Donna M. Gates, EdD, RN, FAAN, Gordon L. Gillespie, PhD, RN, FAEN, Paul Succop, PhD, Nursing Economics 2011;29(2):59-67.
ii “2014 Incidence and Cost of Nurse Workplace Violence Perpetrated by Hospital Patients or Patient Visitors,” Journal of Emergency Nursing Volume 40 Issue 3 May 2014
iii “Nurses’ reports on hospital care in five countries.” Aiken, L. H., S. P. Clarke, et al. (2001) Health Affairs 20(3): 43-54.