On June 7, 2006 New York State enacted Article 2 Section 27-b of the New York State Labor Law entitled The Workplace Violence Prevention Act for Public Employees. This law requires public employers to develop and implement a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan. Those employers with 20 or more full time employees must develop their plan in writing. Schools covered under the school safety plan requirements of the education law are exempt from this requirement.
The law required that the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) promulgate regulations detailing implementation of the provisions of the law. NYSDOL has drafted 12 NYCRR Part 800.6 "Public Employer Workplace Violence Prevention Programs" (WVPP) to fulfill that obligation. The guide may be used to assist public employers and employees in understanding key steps in establishing a public employer WVPP; and as a tool in tailoring programs to the actual needs and conditions of the different types of public employment based on their operations and exposures.
The purpose of this presentation is to focus attendees on the necessity and merits of implementing a comprehensive Workplace Violence Prevention Program from a risk management perspective for any organization, public or private, by presenting the elements of the NYSWVP Act, as it stands currently in its proposed draft (See Note on Page 2) and why these elements are pertinent and effective for all companies, organizations, public entities, etc., even if other states have not mandated similar legislation.
Management Commitment/Employee Involvement
Workplace Violence Prevention Policy/Statement
Incident Reporting/Recordkeeping System
Hazard Control/Prevention Measures
Under the NYS Administrative Procedures Act, municipal organizations have an opportunity to comment on the legislation with the latest proposal issued with draft changes to the January 23, 2008 and updated November 2008 drafts, though the specific elements listed remain in effect. Finalization of the regulation is expected sometime in 2009.
Recent Draft changes were discussed at a January 8, 2009 meeting of Public Employers Coalition consisting of the Mayor's office of the City of New York, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, NYS Association of Counties, Nassau County, NYS Conference of Mayors, and the Association of Towns of the State of New York reflected changes to certain items of language in the original draft that include striking an objectionable definition of an Authorized Employee Representative and replace it with the option to use Participation of an Authorized Employee Representative or representative group; expanded union role; and to terms of verbal abuse and threatening behavior.
*In any event, as of this writing, there were 2 Public Hearings held on January 20 and February 3, 2009 to allow for final comments prior to the promulgation of the final rule and it must be realized that some of these elements outlined in this paper may be modified or struck from the Act altogether; though their use and implementation are still considered feasible or essential from a risk management perspective for these public sector entities as well as any other organization.