Manitoba invests in Safer Workplaces for Nurses, Health Care Workers

The Manitoba government is investing $2 million to protect nurses, doctors, technologists, health-care aides and other health-care staff from workplace violence as well as rolling out a new provincial violence-prevention policy for all health facilities, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced here today.

“Nurses and other health-care professionals dedicate their careers to saving lives, not risking their own lives in the workplace,” said Oswald. “By focusing on safer workplaces, we know it will not only keep health-care employees, patients and families safer, but will also help recruit and retain health professionals in our hospitals, personal care homes and other health facilities to deliver the care patients need.”

The minister announced, as of today, a new provincial violence-prevention policy is in place which expects all health facilities to take steps to prevent violence including:

  • identifying risks of violence and taking appropriate steps to eliminate or minimize those risks;
  • training health-care workers to prevent and respond to violence-related incidents;
  • developing an alert system so staff can quickly identify potential sources of violence and take action to prevent or respond appropriately;
  • ensuring staff can quickly summon security assistance should a violent incident occur or appear imminent, which could include the use of panic buttons or other personal communications devices, and a ‘code white’ procedure to summon internal security personnel or nearby law enforcement officers; and
  • requiring mandatory reporting and investigation of incidents to identify any changes that could improve workplace safety, and ensuring staff are offered a debriefing and assistance such as counselling.

The minister noted the new policy is required under new robust regulations focused on violence prevention in health facilities and was developed by the Minister’s Advisory Group on Violence Prevention for Health Care Workers, co-chaired by Prairie Mountain Health chief executive officer Penny Gilson and Sandi Mowat, president of the Manitoba Nurses Union and representative from the Manitoba Council of Health Care Unions.

“We applaud Minister Oswald and her government for recognizing the important role of nurses in the delivery of patient care and for making the safety of Manitoba's nurses a priority,” said Mowat.

Oswald said the $2 million will be used to implement the policy including educating staff on identifying, preventing and responding to workplace violence, and possibly assisting health facilities with acquiring security equipment.

"We want our health-care workers to feel safe and secure in their workplaces and I support this policy as a first and critical step in achieving that goal, and look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders in advancing the violence-prevention agenda provincially,” she said.

The new policy and $2-million fund for health facility security build on other steps to improve workplace safety for health professionals including creating the Nursing Safety and Security Fund to invest in measures that improve safety and security for nurses in the workplace and avoiding injuries by installing more patient lifts and offering training on safe patient transfers.

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