Workplace violence legislation introduced in Congress

A BILL THAT TARGETS the national crisis of violence in healthcare and social service settings, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, H.R. 7141, was introduced in Congress on November 11, 2018. The bill would require the Occupation Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to develop a standard requiring healthcare and social service employers to write and implement workplace violence prevention plans that protect employees from violent incidents.

All employees are covered

The bill would require that the standard cover both facilities covered by OSHA and those that are not. Covered facilities include traditional healthcare settings such as hospitals as well as outpatient facilities, correctional and detention facilities, psychiatric treatment facilities and clinics, group homes, home care, emergency services and transport services. All employees, whether direct hire, contracted or temporary are covered by the bill.

The bill would require that, in developing the workplace violence prevent plan, healthcare and social service employers:

  • Work with affected employees and their unions to identify workplace violence risks in their particular workplace;
  • Include both work practice controls (e.g., security, staffing, training, etc.) and environmental controls (e.g., personal alarm devices, barriers, weapon detectors, access controls, etc.);
  • Develop procedures for:
    • reporting, responding to and investigating incidents;
    • documentation of incident investigations;
    • corrective measures based on findings of incident investigations;
    • employee training; and
    • annual evaluation of the plan.

Twelve congressional representatives, including Representative Adriano Espaillat from New York, have cosponsored the bill. NYSNA will closely monitor the bill’s progress and keep members informed.

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