Washington, D.C. — Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Marietta) voted to pass H.R. 1309, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, which demands the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issue a workplace violence prevention standard requiring employers within the health care and social service sectors to develop and implement a plan to protect their employees from workplace violence.
“I was proud to vote in favor of this measure. Our health care providers and social service workers serve this country, keep our families whole, healthy, and support our children in immeasurable ways,” said McBath. “They deserve to be protected and have peace of mind when they go to work every day. This week’s vote was an important step toward protecting those who support American families in tough times.”
In response, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) President Lee Saunders issued the following statement:
“Every year, hundreds of nurses, social workers and others are killed, and thousands are injured, due to workplace violence incidents. The cost of inaction is too high, and we can no longer allow employers to skirt their duties to protect employees who step up every day to keep us safe, care for our loved ones and make our communities strong and healthy. Our health care and social service workers deserve to be safe at work and to go home to their families at the end of the day. We celebrate the passage of this bill as a major step forward in ensuring that workers are protected and urge the Senate to take this bill up.”
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.
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.