OTTAWA, Jan. 30, 2014 /CNW/ - Workplace violence legislation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) is finally bearing fruit as an Ontario hospital heads to trial in November 2014 for charges filed under the Act, says the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA).
A Ministry of Labour investigator found sufficient evidence of flaws in the workplace violence prevention measures to warrant charges against Royal Ottawa Hospital, a mental health facility, stemming from a violent July 2012 incident in which a patient attacked and injured several registered nursing staff members at a nursing station.
"Too often our members are attacked and seriously injured in their workplaces. The legislation was intended to protect them from such events and we are pleased to see it being applied appropriately in this case. A Ministry of Labour investigator found evidence that the hospital failed to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect its workers, and charges were laid," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN.
"We are hoping the trial will result in a wake-up call for this employer and other health-care facilities that they have clear legal duties to protect their workers from workplace violence."
This is the first time charges have been laid in our health-care workplaces for violation of the violence prevention sections of the legislation, which took effect on June 15, 2010. ONA advocated strongly on behalf of its members for workplace violence legislation to be included in the OHSA, but up until now, it has not been successfully prosecuted.
In July 2013, ONA also called on the Ministry of Labour to take immediate action to force another employer, Southlake Hospital in Newmarket, to protect nurses from workplace violence. "We were disappointed a similar outcome didn't materialize, but since that event, the employer and ONA have made significant strides working together to develop a proper response to workplace violence," said Haslam-Stroud.
ONA is the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.
SOURCE: Ontario Nurses' Association