A report released by the Subcommittee on Workplace Safety, Chaired by Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Queens), revealed an unacceptably high rate of non-compliance with the state’s Workplace Violence Prevention Law despite state and federal data showing a steady increase in workplace violence against state employees in New York.
Specifically, statistics maintained by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show a 26.7% increase in workplace injuries from 2005 to 2008 arising from assaults and other violent acts against state government employees in New York.
Against this backdrop of rising workplace violence against state employees, 44.9% of state agencies surveyed – and 46.7% of public authorities surveyed – could not produce any evidence of having completed a Workplace Violence Prevention Program as required by the Workplace Violence Prevention Law. Further, 50% of state agencies responding to the survey – and 46.1% of public authorities – conceded that they had not provided workplace violence prevention training as required under the law.
“As indicated in the survey results, a staggering number of employers have yet to complete Workplace Violence Prevention Programs as required by the law, a year after the programs were due,” said Assemblyman Rory Lancman, Chair of the Subcommittee on Workplace Safety and author of the report. “These results are intolerable, especially as rates of injuries caused by assaults are drastically increasing.”
Public Employee Federation Vice-President Pat Baker said, “PEF has been working diligently with agency managers to implement violence prevention programs. Most have been cooperative, but we will continue to file complaints with the Department of Labor at sites that refuse to comply with the law and regulations. The escalating violence in state institutions is not acceptable and is harmful to clients, state employees, and costly to taxpayers.”
"Our public employees provide vital services everyday and their safety, as well as the safety of the public they serve, should be of paramount importance," said George Boncoraglio, CSEA Metropolitan Region President. "We already have some of the strongest standards that exist from PESH, especially because they involve workers at a greater level," said Boncoraglio. "We want to be a part of the solution. It's our necks on the line."
"These results are unacceptable and must be addressed immediately," said Assemblymember Grace Meng, a member of the Subcommittee on Workplace Safety. "I look forward to continuing the Subcommittee's efforts to make sure workplace violence is reduced through mandatory workplace violence prevention programs."