ONA continues to advocate for an end to workplace violence
TORONTO, Nov. 12, 2015 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is marking the 10th anniversary of the brutal workplace murder of Windsor registered nurse, Lori Dupont.
Dupont was murdered on November 12, 2005 while working in the recovery room of Windsor's Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital by an anesthetist who also worked at the hospital; he subsequently committed suicide. The brutal murder shook nurses and health-care workers across the province, and was the impetus for a renewed drive for improved workplace safety laws in Ontario. Following the recommendations of the jury in the Dupont inquest, Ontario passed legislation to recognize violence and harassment as occupational hazards.
However, as ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN notes, in the decade since Lori's murder, nurses continue to be vulnerable to workplace violence; 2013 data from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board showed health and community workers were the victims of 639 approved lost-time injury claims. An ONA survey, 54 per cent of members reported having experienced physicial violence in the workplace; the vast majority of injuries likely go unreported.
"Despite the passage of amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, not enough has changed in our workplaces," she said. "Measures to protect registered nurses - and our patients - from violence are inadequate. We need policies and laws that are enforced so that we can hold employers, CEOs and boards of directors of health-care agencies accountable for the safety of their workers."
She adds that the workplace culture of health care must also change, eliminating the widely held view that violence is to be expected as a normal part of nurses' work. While ONA had always advocated for an end to workplace violence, Lori's death uncovered the extent of the shocking lack of attention given to the subject and a workplace culture that accepted nurses being assaulted. Today, and despite years of effort, health care continues to be a dangerous sector for our registered nurses to work in.
Haslam-Stroud holds out hope that the new provincial roundtable on violence may finally help improve the situation for nurses and health-care workers. Struck by the ministries of health and labour, ONA has a seat at the table and the group has a mandate to make recommendations to make health-care workplaces safe.
ONA has produced a short documentary on the Lori Dupont case being shown to members next week at a provincial leaders' meeting. It details the roadblocks ONA and Dupont's family faced in having the case treated as an occupational health and safety fatality and holding her employer accountable. During the inquest, one workplace safety expert noted that Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital management missed 84 separate chances to take action and end the harassment Lori was facing. The Ministry of Labour at that time said it did not have the power to investigate Lori's murder, but persistence from ONA, Lori's friends and family resulted in the inquest and its long list of recommendations. ONA's work is not over as we continue to advocate for safe workplaces.
ONA is the union representing 60,000 front-line registered nurses and allied health professionals as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, industry and clinics.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association