Hospitals would not be allowed to force nurses to work overtime as a condition of employment, if an Ohio House bill becomes law.
The House voted 74-10 in favor of the bill, which now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Ohio has some 200,000 nurses.
State Rep. Robert Sprague, R-Findlay, sponsor of the bill, said in testimony that requiring nurses to work mandatory, unscheduled overtime impacts safety for patients and nurses. He argued that eliminating mandatory overtime would improve patient health and reduce medical accidents.
The bill would apply to registered nurses and licensed practical nurses working in hospitals. The hospitals would still be allowed to schedule overtime during health care disasters, unanticipated emergencies, and during an ongoing medical or surgical procedure.
The measure is opposed by the Ohio Hospital Association but has support from Ohio Nurses Association.
“Fatigue has been proven to result in increased risk of errors, decline in memory, reduced ability to learn, and impaired communication skills, contributing to medical errors being the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States,” said ONA Chief Executive Lori Chovanak, in written testimony.
So far 18 states have passed similar laws.
The bill now goes to the Ohio Senate for consideration.