WASHINGTON DC – Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (MA-5) today, April 16, voted in support of the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, legislation to provide health and social service workers with the protection they need and deserve. America’s nurses, social workers, psychiatrists, and dedicated caregivers suffer workplace violence injuries at far higher rates than any other profession.
Last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that health care and social service workers were nearly five times as likely to suffer a serious workplace violence injury than workers in other sectors.
Furthermore, public employees, such as caregivers in state and local government health care and social service work, experience even higher rates of workplace violence than their private sector peers.
The bill passed the House by a vote of 254-156.
“Our nation’s caregivers put their hearts into their work, but they shouldn’t have to put their safety on the line, too. During this pandemic, as workplace hazards skyrocketed, health care and social service workers have continued to put themselves at risk in order to keep providing the critical services we rely on. It’s time that we honor their sacrifices and protect them as they’ve protected us,” Assistant Speaker Clark said. “By passing the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act today, we aren’t just acknowledging the incredible work of our nation’s caregivers – we’re paying them the respect they deserve by ensuring they can work safely and with peace of mind.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has the authority and responsibility to protect America’s caregivers from workplace violence, but it has not been given the basic tools to fulfill its mission. The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, led by Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2), would provide health and social service workers the protection they deserve by:
- Compelling 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.
- Identifying risks, specifying solutions, and requiring training, reporting, and incident investigations. It would also provide protections from retaliation for reporting violent incidents.
- Protecting health care and social service workers in the public sector in the 24 states not covered by OSHA protections.
Original story here.