11.21.19

House of Representatives Approves Baldwin’s Reform to Protect Health Care and Social Services Workers from Workplace Violence

Legislation creates standard requiring health care and social service employers to implement workplace violence prevention plan and protect employees from violent incidents

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s legislation to protect health care and social services employees from workplace violence. After the vote, Baldwin joined Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT), who led the House companion legislation, as well as nurses, health care and social service professionals, and union leaders to celebrate this victory and call for action in the Senate.

The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act directs OSHA to issue a standard requiring health care and social service employers to write and implement a workplace violence prevention plan to prevent and protect their employees from violent incidents.

“Our health care and social services workers deserve to work in an environment free from workplace violence,” said Senator Baldwin, Ranking Member of the Senate Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee. “I’m proud to see this important effort pass the House of Representatives so we can provide overdue protections and safety standards to a workforce that serves people during some of their most vulnerable moments. This bill promotes a healthy environment that is good for both workers and those they serve, so we all need to work together to take action and pass this legislation in the Senate.”

Incidents of violence against health care and social service workers are on the rise. A 2016 GAO study reported that rates of violence against health care workers are up to 12 times higher than rates for the overall workforce, and 70% of nonfatal workplace assaults in 2016 occurred in the health care and social assistance sectors. Recently released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found a sharp increase in serious injuries as a result of workplace violence among health care workers last year.

The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act would ensure that health care and social service workplaces adopt proven prevention techniques and are prepared to respond in the tragic event of a violent incident. More information about this legislation is available here.

The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act received support from a host of health care and social service professionals, as well as unions representing workers in these sectors, including the American Nurses Association, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, American Federation of Teachers, American Industrial Hygiene Association, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, ElevatingHOME, Emergency Nurses Association, International Association of Fire Fighters, National Nurses United, National Association of Social Workers, Public Citizen, SEIU, Teamsters, United Steelworkers (USW), International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.