Legislation requiring healthcare organizations to implement a sector-specific workplace violence prevention plan has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Leaders and members of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) and American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) have emphasized their support of the bill, asking the Senate to move forward with the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act.

The bill — which passed the House in April 2021 and was introduced in the Senate by Senator Tammy Baldwin — focuses on directing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to require employers to develop and implement workplace violence prevention plans focused on the safety of healthcare workers and patients.

"The pandemic continues to show everyone how vital emergency care can be, but it has only exacerbated many of the factors that contribute to violence in the emergency department," ACEP President Gillian Schmitz, MD, FACEP, said. 

With 92% of healthcare workers witnessing or experiencing workplace violence in April 2022, the legislation may offer more protections for nurses, doctors and other healthcare employees.