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New Illinois law aims to prevent violence against nurses

To address the risks of violence against nurses and other health care workers, Illinois hospitals and other employers of health care workers will be required to comply with workplace violence training and related safety requirements, effective January 1, 2019.

The Illinois Health Care Violence Prevention Act, recently signed into law by the Illinois governor, includes a multi-prong approach to addressing workplace violence against nurses. In particular, health care providers will be required to create a workplace violence prevention program that not only complies with OSHA guidelines for such a program, but also includes:

  • Classification of types of workplace violence.
  • Management commitment and worker participation, including but not limited to nurses.
  • Worksite analysis and identification of potential hazards.
  • Hazard prevention and control.
  • Required safety and health training.
  • Record-keeping and evaluation of the violence prevention program.

Health care providers also must post notices stating that verbal aggression will not be tolerated and that physical assault will be reported to law enforcement.

In the event of a workplace violence incident initiated by a patient or visitor, employers will be required to offer immediate post-incident services to the health care worker who is directly involved. Such services include acute treatment and access to psychological services.

In addition, employers cannot discourage health care workers from contacting law enforcement or filing a police report because of a workplace violence incident. If a health care worker files a police report against a patient or individual because of workplace violence, they are required to provide notice to management within three days after filing the report.

The new law also states that the Illinois Whistleblower Act applies to health care providers and their employees with respect to actions taken to implement or enforce compliance with the Health Care Violence Prevention Act.

For more details, see the full text of the Health Care Violence Prevention Act, enacted as Public Act 100-1051.



About this Author

Jennifer Cerven, Barnes Thornburg Law Firm, Chicago, Labor and Employment and Litigation Law Attorney,
Staff Attorney

Jennifer Cerven is a staff attorney in the Chicago, Illinois office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, where she is a member of the Labor and Employment Law Department.

She concentrates her practice in the defense of employment discrimination matters before administrative agencies including the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Illinois Department of Human Rights, as well as other federal, state, and local agencies. In addition, Ms. Cerven defends employers in employment discrimination matters before various federal and state...