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Thursday November 12th, 2015

Posted at 11:07am

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It has been ten years since the workplace murder of Windsor registered nurse Lori Dupont.

Dupont was murdered on November 12th, 2005 while working in the recovery room of Windsor’s Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital by an anesthetist who also worked at the hospital; he subsequently committed suicide.

The murder was the impetus for a renewed drive for improved workplace safety laws in Ontario. Following the recommendations of the jury in the Dupont inquest, Ontario passed legislation to recognize violence and harassment as occupational hazards.

However, as ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN notes, in the decade since Lori’s murder, nurses continue to be vulnerable to workplace violence; 2013 data from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board showed health and community workers were the victims of 639 approved lost-time injury claims. An ONA survey, 54% of members reported having experienced physicial violence in the workplace; the vast majority of injuries likely go unreported.

“Despite the passage of amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, not enough has changed in our workplaces,” she said. “Measures to protect registered nurses – and our patients – from violence are inadequate. We need policies and laws that are enforced so that we can hold employers, CEOs and boards of directors of health-care agencies accountable for the safety of their workers.”

Haslam-Stroud holds out hope that the new provincial roundtable on violence may finally help improve the situation for nurses and health-care workers. Struck by the ministries of health and labour, ONA has a seat at the table and the group has a mandate to make recommendations to make health-care workplaces safe.

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