ASSEMBLY, No. 1160

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

213th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2008 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman SHEILA Y. OLIVER

District 34 (Essex and Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires certain employers to develop and implement programs to prevent workplace violence.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act requiring employers to develop and implement programs to prevent workplace violence and supplementing Title 34 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  The Legislature finds and declares that:

     a.  The growing occupational hazard of workplace violence is the cause of great personal hardship for many New Jersey workers and their families, as well as a source of significant disruption and expense for their employers;

     b.  Nationally, almost one million workers are injured each year by violence on the job, with homicide being the second largest cause of workplace death for all workers and the leading cause of workplace death for women workers;

     c.  Violence by co-workers accounts for less than one out of every twenty workplace homicides;

     d.  Many workers and employers nonetheless remain unaware of the severity of the problem and its profound negative impact on the well-being of workers and the efficiency of the operations of their employers;

     e.  Cooperative efforts of employers and employees to evaluate the hazards of workplace violence and efforts of employers to implement worker protection programs have proved to be highly effective in reducing the incidence of injury and death from workplace violence; and

     f.  It is therefore an appropriate public purpose to ensure that employers evaluate, in cooperation with their employees, the hazards of workplace violence and develop and implement programs to minimize those hazards.

 

     2.  For the purpose of this act, "employer" means:

     a.  A corporation, partnership, individual proprietor, joint venture, firm, company or other similar entity employing five or more employees; or

     b.  The State or any instrumentality of the State.

 

     3.  Each employer shall evaluate, in cooperation with the employees of the employer and any labor organization representing the employees, all factors which may put any of the employees at risk of workplace assaults and homicide.  The factors shall include, but not be limited to: working in public settings; guarding or maintaining property or possessions; working in high-crime areas; working late night or early morning hours; exchanging money with the public; working alone or in small numbers; uncontrolled public access to the workplace; and working in areas with known security problems.

     4.  Based on the findings of the evaluation, the employer shall develop and implement a program to minimize the danger of workplace violence to employees, which shall include appropriate employee training and a system for the ongoing reporting and monitoring of incidents and situations involving violence or the risk of violence.  The program shall be described in a written violence prevention plan.  The plan shall be made available to each employee and provided to an employee upon request and shall be provided to any labor organization representing any of the employees.  The plan shall include: a list of the factors which may endanger the employees; a description of the methods that the employer will use to alleviate hazards associated with each factor, including, but not limited to, employee training and any appropriate changes in job design, staffing, security, equipment or facilities; and a description of the reporting and monitoring system.

 

     5.  Any employer who knowingly and willingly violates the provisions of this act shall be liable for a penalty of not less than $100 or more than $500 to be collected in a civil action by a summary proceeding under the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).

 

     6.  The Commissioner of Labor shall, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), adopt rules and regulations necessary to implement the purposes of this act.  These rules and regulations shall include such guidelines as the commissioner deems appropriate regarding workplace violence prevention programs required pursuant to this act, and related reporting and monitoring systems and employee training.

 

     7.  This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires each private employer of five or more employees, as well as the State, to evaluate, in cooperation with its employees and any labor organization representing its employees, all factors which may put any of the employees at risk of workplace assaults and homicide.  The employer is required to develop and implement a program to minimize the danger of workplace violence to the employees, including employee training and a system for the ongoing reporting and monitoring of incidents and situations involving violence or the risk of violence.  The bill requires that the program be described in a written violence prevention plan made available to employees and any labor organization representing them.  The plan shall include a list of factors endangering the employees, a description of the methods that the employer will use to address each factor, such as the use of security, equipment, changes in job design, staffing, and employee training; and a description of the reporting and monitoring system.