OTTAWA, Nov. 28, 2014 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is applauding an Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) interim order to heighten security for staff at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group (ROHCG), Brockville Hospital Mental Health Centre B4 Unit.
The OLRB decision grants ONA's request to have properly trained security guards escort nurses when they provide care to and interact with a violent patient. The order is in force until the full appeal is heard or the matter is settled. ONA believes it is of paramount importance to ensure security guards are trained properly in how to safely restrain a patient and to effectively handle violent situations to better protect both patients and workers.
"This very important ruling recognizes that an employer must take reasonable precautions in the midst of workplace violence," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN.
Nurses at the Brockville unit raised concerns regarding the need for additional supports and a new physical infrastructure to reduce the risk of harm, following an October 2014 stabbing of a nurse in the head and neck by a violent patient. The attack just narrowly missed an artery that could have caused the nurse serious injury and even her life.
The interim order addresses one aspect of overall systemic failures to keep staff safe at this worksite, and the failure of the Ministry of Labour to adequately enforce the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). ONA is seeking additional orders for a comprehensive workplace violence program, measures and procedures that can truly protect the workers.
"Over the past four years, the acuity of patients on this particular unit has increased. The mental health illnesses are more complex and require more than one-to-one observation, and certainly this has meant an increase in the potential for violent attacks by patients against our members," said Haslam-Stroud, RN.
ONA is also calling on the Ontario government to initiate a province-wide health sector strategy to deal with workplace violence. ONA members have reported 1,500 documented attacks on workers this year alone at two large Ontario hospitals. "We receive reports of violent incidents weekly from our members from many health care facilities across the province. Enough is enough," 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.
Image with caption: ""Nursing doesn't have to be dangerous work." Nurses applaud an Ontario Labour Relations Board interim order to heighten security for staff at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group's Brockville Hospital Mental Health Centre. The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is calling on the government to initiate a province-wide health sector strategy to prevent workplace violence. (CNW Group/Ontario Nurses' Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20141128_C8290_PHOTO_EN_8709.jpg
SOURCE: Ontario Nurses' Association
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