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HFES News and Bulletin

California Passes Important Health-Care Workplace Safety Bill
Thursday, October 13, 2011

Until recently, most California health-care facilities had no comprehensive Safe Patient Handling and Moving (SPHM) program to prevent caregiver injury and promote patient safety. Governor Jerry Brown changed the landscape of California health-care safety on October 7, 2011, by signing AB 1136 to protect registered nurses and other health-care employees from disabling injuries and to help safeguard patients from preventable falls.

The legislation, sponsored by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, requires that all California hospitals institute a safe patient-handling policy, including lift teams trained to move patients using proper lift equipment. A handful of other states have passed patient-handling legislation, but the California law is believed to be the strongest in requiring hospital compliance.

CNA/NNU Legislative Director Bonnie Castillo said, “This law will prevent the most common injury for nurses and patients, falls that are the direct result of not having lift teams, policies, or equipment needed to stop accidents and reduce injuries.”

Additionally, AB 1136 requires employers to adopt a patient protection and health-care worker back injury prevention plan as part of existing injury and illness prevention departments. Employers would also be prohibited from taking disciplinary action against employees who refuse to perform patient mobility tasks perceived to be dangerous.
Source: National Nurses United,

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