Science, Health and Technology
4:57 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

New law limits work hours at mental health facilities

Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation that could provide relief for state employees working long hours at high-security mental health facilities.

The legislation signed Thursday would prohibit employees from being required to work more than 12 hours in a 24-hour-period unless the Department of Mental Health declares an emergency workforce shortage. It would apply to the Fulton State Hospital and the sexual offender rehabilitation and treatment program in Farmington.

The bill was sponsored by Republican House member Jeanie Riddle, of Mokane, who said employees at the Fulton hospital are frequently forced to work double shifts because of staff shortages. Riddle says that puts tired workers in a dangerous situation.

The new limits would begin in July 2013