The Health Care Workplace Violence Prevention Act, introduced March 8 by U.S. Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) and 12 other House Democrats, would direct OSHA to create a standard that would require healthcare facilities to develop and implement facility- and unit-specific workplace violence prevention plans. The bill can be read here.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, at least 58 hospital workers died as a result of workplace violence between 2011 and 2016. In 2016, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that healthcare workers at inpatient facilities are five to 12 times more likely to encounter nonfatal workplace violence than all other workers, according to Health and Safety Magazine.
The national legislation follows regulation enacted in 2014 in California, which directs Cal/OSHA to craft a workplace violence prevention standard and requires all covered healthcare employers in California to develop and issue plans to prevent workplace violence and ensure patients’ and workers’ safety.
Under the bill introduced last week, workplaces would create and implement comprehensive violence prevention plans with input from doctors, nurses and custodial workers. The bill emphasizes prevention, training and worker participation. It includes threats of violence in its definition of workplace violence, and emphasizes staffing as a crucial factor in preventing violence and responding quickly.