Health-care workers face the hazard of violence | National Union of Public and General Employees

Health-care workers face the hazard of violence

In less than a year four RNs were injured through violent attacks by a patient. The call comes following the last incident at CAMH in which a registered nurse was grabbed and dragged into a washroom by a patient who sexually assaulted her.

Toronto (21 October 2008) - The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) and The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) are demanding that the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) take immediate action to stop violent attacks on front-line health-care workers.

"Little has changed in the 11 months since ONA last called for increased safety at CAMH," notes ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "Health-care workers at CAMH have noted an increase in the number of workplace violence incidents - 23 in the last month alone. CAMH is moving much too slowly in addressing this serious situation and our health-care providers are paying the price."

"These violent attacks and CAMH's obvious disregard for worker safety really highlight the need for stronger health and safety legislation," said OPSEU President Smokey Thomas. "We know the Ministry of Labour is considering covering workplace violence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Attacks like this are why we need them to act now."

On October 17, 2008 OPSEU made a submission on workplace violence to the Ministry of Labour: Consultation Paper on Workplace Violence Prevention. The submission specifically defines violence and recommends policy, actions, and provisions to protect workers from these hazards in the workplace.

Following the assaults on RNs last November, the Ministry ordered that CAMH develop a workplace violence policy and program. To date, there is no workplace violence program in place. For this reason ONA and OPSEU believe CAMH is in violation of orders from the Ministry of Labour inspectors.


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