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Joint Committee on Public Safety Holds June 29th Hearing On Bill to Prevent Workplace Violence Against Health Workers

Nurses are Assaulted as Much as Police Officers and Prison Guards Yet Most Hospitals Fail to Provide Adequate Polices to Protect Employees

WHAT: The Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security has scheduled a hearing on Wednesday, June 29, 2005, beginning at 10 a.m., for testimony on a bill sponsored by Senator Jarrett Barrios that would require health care providers to provide a comprehensive program to prevent workplace violence, along with a counseling program for victims of violence. In 2002 (the most recent year studied), more than 4,000 hospital employees were assaulted while working in emergency settings across the state, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, nurses, who experience the highest rate of workplace violence among health care workers, are assaulted at work on a par with police officers and prison guards. Yet most hospitals in the state fail to adequately address the issue of workplace violence and very often provide little or no support to employees who are attacked on the job.

WHO: Testifying at the hearing will be members of the Task Force on Workplace Violence convened by the Massachusetts Nurses Association. This will include testimony from recent victims of workplace violence, including a former emergency department nurse at Beverly Hospital, who suffered a vicious assault in 2003 from a drunk patient, who was later charged and sent to prison for the attack; a nurse from a Boston area hospital who was involved in a similar incident and a psychiatric nurse at a state mental health facility who has been assaulted on numerous occasions, resulting in a number of serious injuries.

WHEN: June 29, 2005 at 10 a.m.

WHERE: State House, Room A2

CONTACT: David Schildmeier, 781.249.0430 (For more information, background on bill, or to schedule interviews).