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Law addressing violence against nurses to take effect

Legislation backed by State Rep. John Connor, D-Lockport, will require hospitals and other health care facilities to develop a workplace violence prevention program to help address increased violence toward registered nurses.

The law takes effect in January, according to a news release from Connor's office.

"Workplace violence committed against nurses has been increasing in recent years, and something needed to be done in order to prevent future incidents from occurring," Connor said in the news release. "I am hopeful that the Health Care Violence Prevention Act will being about better safety guidelines to prevent violence toward nurses and allow for better working environments moving forward."

The bill was prompted by incidents last year in Geneva and Joliet where medical professionals were held hostage and assaulted.

The law will require hospitals and correctional agencies to create a workplace violence prevention program that must reference Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines.

The measure also requires hospitals to establish protocols for the intake and treatment of incarcerated individuals, and for in-hospital emergencies.

It also creates whistleblower protections for nurses who take action on instances of workplace violence.

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