Bill to Protect Health Care Workers from Workplace Violence Reintroduced in Congress

On February 19, 2019, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) reintroduced the “Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act” (H.R. 1309). The legislation would require certain employers in the health care and social service sectors to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan. 

The legislation specifically requires the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a proposed rule within one year and then a final rule within 42 months that will establish workplace violence prevention standards. These standards would apply to a wide swath of care settings, including: inpatient and outpatient hospitals; nursing homes; hospice programs; any community care setting, such as mental health clinics; and to any care provided via home health, home-based hospice and home-based social work; as well as to other service areas and settings. The new rules would not apply to an individual who privately employs a person to perform services in an individual’s home. 

The legislation further requires that employers develop the plan in cooperation with direct care employees, which must include reporting and post-incidence investigation protocols. It also requires that summary of illness and injury logs be made available for employees to review. 

At this time, 26 other House Members have signed on as supporters and a number of national organizations have endorsed the bill, including the American Federation of Teachers, the AFL-CIO, National Nurses United and the American Nurses Association. ElevatingHOME has also signed on as a supporter of this important legislation. It is anticipated that H.R. 1309 will receive Committee consideration in the coming weeks.

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