SANTA MARIA - A new, high-tech wireless personal alarm system is being rolled out to improve safety for all state psychiatric hospital workers including employees at Atascadero State Hospital.
The new "personal alarm tags" not only transmit constant signals on the location of each employee, but also receive data so that workers can reach one another in emergencies.
Not everyone is thrilled with the new system mainly because it requires the workers to wear the alarms on lanyards around their necks which some say maintains the risk of strangulation.
The personal alarm systems are activated when the wearer pulls on them with at least 5 pounds of force.
The lanyard has a breakaway device in the rear that gives way at 10 pounds of force which backers say prevents the risk of strangulation if an attacker were to pull on it.
The California Department of State Hospitals is rolling out the new employee security alarm system.
Napa State Hospital is first in line to receive the new "tags" mainly because employees there demanded improvements after a psychiatric technician was strangled to death with her lanyard by a patient on the grounds nearly two years ago.
Cal/OSHA is leading the push behind the new personal alarm system as part of an effort to improve worker safety at all state hospitals against possible patient attacks.
If the new personal alarm system at Napa State Hospital proves effective, workers at Atascadero State Hospital can expect to get the same devices sometime next year.
ASH employees are often assaulted in a range of severity with state records showing more than 150 assaults at ASH last year resulting in worker injuries.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:17 PM EDT2013-05-22 16:17:05 GMT
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