Five members of the Oklahoma Legislature have been honored for their efforts to improve safety in workplaces throughout the state. Sen. James Leewright, R-Bristow, Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle, Rep. Chris Kannady, R-Oklahoma City, Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond, and Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond, have received the Workplace Safety Champion award for 2019 from the Oklahoma Workplace Safety Coalition. The organization includes major employers such as Paycom, 7-Eleven, Sonic, CompSource, and the Chickasaw Nation along with members of law enforcement, the mental health treatment community, educational institutions and churches. The group identified areas in state law that needed to be modernized in order to promote greater safety, resulting in the passage of key legislation during the 2019 session.
Senate Bill 752, by Leewright and Miller, clarifies that it is unlawful to disrupt business via electronic communication.
“As we work to promote safer workplaces, it’s clear that we need to be vigilant in reviewing public policy to ensure that we are addressing our ever-changing technology and new methods of communications so that they are addressed in the statutes,” Leewright said. “That’s what we’re doing with Senate Bill 752.”
“The Oklahoma Legislature took a strong stand this year against workplace violence in all forms, including updating statute to include electronic media and reflect modern technology capabilities,” Miller said. “Protecting employees across the state and ensuring they can work without the worry of violence hanging over their heads means we need to stop potential violence in its tracks and adopt preemptive policies that help prevent it from ever occurring.”
Senate Bill 715, by Paxton and Kannady, creates the Workplace Safety and Violence Act, allowing employers to access restraining orders to protect employees.
“It’s clear from the headlines workplace safety is not something we can take for granted,” Paxton said. “It’s a complex issue that will require thoughtful solutions. SB 715 gives employees and employers access to procedures aimed at stemming behaviors before they become violent.”
“This law adds a layer of protection for employees who have been harassed or threatened in their workplace once they have petitioned the courts,” said Kannady said. “This is also a protection for employers who are working to keep their employees safe from workplace violence.”
Senate Bill 656, by Paxton and Martinez, modernizes training requirements for law enforcement is the third measure supported by the Workplace Safety Coalition.
“I’m happy to be recognized for my role in seeing this legislation passed that updates training requirements for our law enforcement officers,” said Martinez.
AJ Griffin, Director of Government and Community Affairs for Paycom, praised the work of Leewright, Paxton, Kannady, Martinez and Miller.
“Employers across Oklahoma have important new tools to use when working with law enforcement to protect the workplace from acts of violence,” Griffin said. “Those of us at Paycom and the entire Workplace Safety Coalition are grateful to these legislators for their work carrying this important legislation.”
All three measures take effect November 1, 2019.