By Ron Jones

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — State lawmakers are working on a bill to make hospitals safer in an effort that some are calling a waste of time and money.

Nurses concerned for their safety spoke out at the state Capitol in support of a state Senate bill that would require the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health to improve security standards and safety training.

“That’s not being done right now, and that’s why we’re here,” said nurse Salonje McKinley.

Those standards and training would help prevent workplace violence toward nurses, staff and patients.

The nurses believe Wednesday’s shooting at a Daly City medical building and last weekend’s stabbings of two registered nurses at two separate Los Angeles-area hospitals underscores the need to increase security and emergency preparedness training statewide.

“We’re often being faced with physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats,” McKinley said.

But opponents argue the bill is a waste of time, money and effort and is just a duplication of a plan that is already in place in emergency rooms and other high-risk areas identified in security assessments.

Bill author state Sen. Alex Padilla says Cal/OSHA’s current security requirements don’t go far enough.

“Violence can occur in other parts of the hospital,” he said. “It can occur inside the hospital. It can occur in the parking lot, on the perimeter of the hospital, and I think we owe it to both the workers and the public that safety plans are reflective of modern day realities.”

The bill passed a committee on Thursday with no opposition.


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