Scott Praises Passage of Legislation to Protect Health Care and Social Service Employees from Workplace Violence

November 21, 2019
Press Release

As originally released by the Committee on Education & Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House voted to pass H.R. 1309, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, a proposal to protect health care and social workers from workplace violence. The bipartisan legislation forces the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a standard requiring employers to implement violence prevention plans, which are proven to reduce workplace violence.

In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that health care and social service workers were four times as likely to suffer a serious workplace violence injury than workers in other sectors. There is currently no enforceable OSHA standard that requires employers to adopt or implement a workplace violence prevention program.

“Most acts of workplace violence in health care facilities are foreseeable and preventable by implementing workplace violence prevention plans.  Although OSHA and the Joint Commission have issued authoritative guidance, voluntary efforts alone are not enough to ensure the safety of these workers,” said Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03). “Health care and social service workers play a critical role in the health of our families and our communities.  At the very least, we must do whatever we can to ensure that these workers can come home uninjured at the end of the workday. I am grateful to Representative Joe Courtney and Representative Alma Adams for their leadership in advancing this legislation.”

Untitled design 

H.R. 1309, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act would:

  • Compel OSHA to issue an interim final standard in one year and a final standard within 42 months requiring employers within the health care and social service sectors to develop and implement a workplace violence prevention plan.
  • Identify risks, specify solutions, and require training, reporting, and incident investigations. It would also provide protections from retaliation for reporting violent incidents.
  • Protect health care and social service workers in the public sector in the 24 states not covered by OSHA protections.

H.R. 1309 is supported by several health care providers, worker safety advocates, and labor unions.

Read the fact sheet on H.R. 1309 here.

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