Manitoba invests $2 million to protect health-care workers from workplace violence

Manitoba is spending $2 million to protect nurses, doctors, technologists, health-care aides and other health-care staff from workplace violence and is rolling out a new provincial violence prevention policy for all health facilities.

As of April 30, 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
• 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 $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, the province said.

The new policy and fund builds 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.