If you are responsible for a hospital in Rhode Island, you may already know that there is a new bill, the Hospital Violence Workplace Protection Act, that comes into effect on January 15, 2022. As a hospital administrator, you need to become familiar with this new bill and you need to consider what it means for you and your staff.
The Basics of the New Legislation
Your first goal is to understand the basic points of the new bill.
This new legislation requires all hospitals in Rhode Island to develop procedures for hospital employees who want to file a complaint. If they have experienced any kind of behavior that can be construed as assault. Whether a staff member wants to file a complaint that occurred on hospital grounds or in the hospital, they need to have a simple and easy-to-follow procedural guide that will help them. You should also make sure that there is someone available to help them through the process if needed.
Employees who experience any kind of assault must be permitted to report violations to the Department of Health or the hospital anonymously. Staff should feel safe from retaliation.
Hospitals in Rhode Island must also form a workplace safety committee. This committee will be responsible to conduct assessments for safety that will look for potential hazards. The safety committee must make sure that all staff attends prevention training regularly.
One of the goals of this new bill is to encourage transparency in hospitals. Hospital administrators must acknowledge that workplace violence does occur. Implementing policies that make it easy for staff to report violations, ensures protection.
Plan Ahead to Provide Protection
Every hospital needs to take a proactive approach to protecting its staff. This is a large part of the workplace safety committee. Not only will they ensure that all staff is aware of the procedures for reporting incidences but they will make sure that they know how to avoid them.
The committee can help protect staff by planning ahead. Training sessions for staff should occur when you hire staff. Plan for ongoing training to keep staff informed and to keep information fresh in their minds.
The security team at the hospital plays a vital role in protecting staff. Train your security team well and upgrade their training as time goes on. Security guards need to be aware of potentially dangerous locations and situations in hospitals and ensure they screen visitors upon entry to the hospital.
Each hospital is likely to have its own issues and that is where the workplace safety committee comes in. Because the committee is made up of staff that work at the hospital (at least a portion of the committee), they will be able to talk about problems that have occurred in the past and look for dangerous issues in the future.
Following the new guidelines and rules of the Hospital Violence Workplace Protection Act will prevent litigation against your hospital. If you do not take the prescribed measures to keep your staff safe, as outline in the new bill may result in lawsuits.