In recent weeks, nurses and other healthcare workers have been sharing their experiences with workplace violence before lawmakers in Annapolis, Maryland, in hopes of reducing assaults in the state’s healthcare facilities, The Baltimore Sun reports.

The House Economic Matters Committee held hearings on a proposed bill that would bolster violence prevention standards at health facilities across the state, the article says. Problems identified in state and local facilities have put a spotlight on the issue.

A consultant’s report on Spring Grove Hospital Center – a state mental hospital in Catonsville, found that attacks on staff were common, and state statistics show that in the 12-month period ending in September, there were 66 assaults on staff members that required medical attention, the article says.

According to the Baltimore Sun, “A January report by a coalition of employees, workers’ rights advocates and others found that 62 percent of workplace violence in 2010 involved health workers, who made up just 16 percent of the state’s workforce. Between 2008 and 2010, health care and social workers were the victims of 74 percent of workplace violence requiring employee time off, the report found.”

The legislation being discussed would require public and private facilities to improve security by establishing violence-prevention committees consisting of management and employees; establish a violence-prevention program; produce annual violence assessments and provide regular workplace violence training for employees, the article reports.

While many associations and parties in the state agree on the need for such legislation, there is still ongoing discussion over the particulars, including some language and suggested amendments. Also, several stakeholders, including smaller or specialized facilities, disagree with the notion of requiring the same protocols for vastly different facilities. Many facilities that largely serve patients with Alzheimer’s disease, for example, craft individual safety plans for patients and residents, the article reports.