About the Action
Reports of violence against health care workers are on the rise. A 2016 study from the Government Accountability Office found that the rates of violence against health care workers was as much as 12 times higher than for the overall workforce, and 70% of nonfatal workplace assaults occurred in the health care and social assistance sectors.
Nursing and senior living facilities often have measures in place to mitigate violence against their employees, but for home health workers alone in the field, each day can come with new worries about combative patients or family members.
The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (HR 1195) will require all health care providers to create and implement a worker safety plan under the supervision of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).
Make A Plan
Plans must include procedures that identify the individual responsible for implementation of the plan; create a risk assessment informed by past violent incidents, including input from employees; outline hazard prevention and controls to correct hazards; and create procedures to respond, report and investigate incidents of violence. Employees should be provided medical care and counseling.
Procedures for communication and training must be included in the plan. Employers are also required to keep records of violent incidents against employees for at least five years.
Under the act, OSHA is required to create an enforceable standard of workplace violence prevention in health care. Home health agencies, hospitals, long-term care facilities and others will be required to formulate and implement a plan following OSHA’s standard. OSHA will have to provide a one-year adjustment period for agencies to implement their plans.
Each plan should be developed and implemented with the meaningful participation of direct care employees and should be tailored to conditions and hazards for the covered service, including patient-specific risk factors. They should also be suitable for the size and type of operation and remain in effect at all times.
Did You Know?
Updates to California’s Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973 have ensured that the state has some of the strongest violence prevention measures for health care workers. HR 1195 will bring federal policy more in line with these standards.
HR 1195 passed the House on April 16, 2021, with overwhelming bipartisan support. It has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Learn More >> Read the full text of the bill here.