WASHINGTON— Today, the House Committee on Education and Labor held a markup on the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act and voted the bill out of committee. The bill will now head to the floor of the House of Representatives. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurses, doctors, social workers, nursing aides, and emergency transport workers face much higher rates of workplace violence injuries than any other profession. Following the markup, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, who is a cosponsor of the legislation, issued the following statement:
“Our nation’s health care and social work professionals are facing an epidemic of violence in the workplace—comprising 70 percent of all instances of workplace violence in 2017. They are the unsung heroes of our communities, and it’s unacceptable that they are routinely placed in harm’s way and exposed to career-ending injuries due to the absence of an enforceable OSHA standard requiring employers to implement violence prevention plans. This legislation ensures that these critical workers have the workplace protections they need so they can continue improving the lives of others while lowering the likelihood of violence in the workplace.”
The bill would require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a workplace violence prevention standard and require employers within the health care and social service sectors to develop violence prevention plans. Additionally, the bill prohibits retaliation against a covered employee for reporting a workplace violence incident, threat, or concern to authorities.
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