Oregon Enacts Workplace Violence Bill
June 6, 2019
The Emergency Nurses Association praised the efforts of its Oregon members after the Oregon legislature and Gov. Kate Brown recently enacted important legislation aimed at reducing the risk of workplace violence for health care professionals employed in facilities throughout the Beaver State.
On June 5, Oregon lawmakers completed consideration of a workplace violence prevention bill, securing near unanimous support in the state house of representatives. The bill, SB 823, previously passed in the Oregon Senate by a 23-4 vote in April. SB 823 will require health care employers to conduct comprehensive security and safety evaluations with respect to workplace violence, including the development of an assault prevention and protection program. The bill will also make it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who report incidents of violence in good faith.
The new law marks the culmination of efforts by multiple groups, including the Oregon ENA State Council. Oregon ENA actively supported passage of SB 823 by promoting the bill extensively among ENA's membership, on social media and as grassroots advocates who contacted their state legislators to show support for the bill.
Additionally, Oregon ENA President Krista Espenship testified in support of SB 823 during a Senate Health Committee hearing and work session on March 20. Government Affairs Chair Bill Schueler followed suit by testifying in person during a subsequent House Health Committee hearing and work session on May 16. Those efforts were among the work done by local ENA members leading up to Brown signing the bill into law this month.