Scott Calls for Passage of Bill to Prevent Workplace Violence

April 16, 2021
Press Release

As originally released by the Committee on Education & Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of H.R. 1195, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act.

“I rise in support of H.R. 1195 – the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act.

“Over the past year, we have voiced exceptional praise for health care and social service workers, who have risked their lives to care for ourselves and our loved ones.  Yet, for too long, we have failed to address the high and growing rates of workplace violence for these workers, who are regularly beaten, kicked, punched, and sometimes even killed on the job. 

“In 2018, health care workers accounted for nearly three out of four of all nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses caused by violence.  Let me repeat that.  In 2018, health care workers—alone—accounted for nearly three out of four of all nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses caused by violence

“Many of these incidents are foreseeable and can be prevented by sound workplace violence prevention plans.  And they work.  And, when they are implemented, they can reduce workers’ compensation claims.

“Yet, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, still has no enforceable workplace standard that requires health care and social service employers to implement violence prevention programs.  We have tried voluntary guidance for the past 25 years.  Yet, still too many employers choose not to follow the best evidence of what is well understood to be authoritative guidance issued by OSHA.

“To make matters worse, without action from Congress, protections for health care workers and social service workers are nowhere in sight.  OSHA typically takes between 7 and 20 years to issue a new standard.  The recent beryllium standard adopted a couple of years ago was in the works for over 17 years.

“We cannot ask health care and social service workers to wait any longer, particularly during this global pandemic, when Congress has the ability to ensure that OSHA can act as quickly as possible to protect workers’ lives. 

“To that end, H.R. 1195 directs OSHA to issue an interim final standard within one year, and a final standard within 42 months, requiring health care and social service employers to develop and implement a workplace violence prevention plan; it protects workers from retaliation for reporting assaults to their employers or government authorities; and it protects the employees of health care facilities run by state, county, or local governments in the 24 states that are not covered by either federal OSHA or a state-run OSHA.

“I commend the gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Courtney, for his leadership and I urge my colleagues to join us in voting for this legislation.” 

###