OSHA has taken the first steps in rulemaking on a possible standard to prevent workplace violence in healthcare and social assistance settings. The agency has issued a Request for Information on whether to propose such a standard and has scheduled a public meeting on Jan. 10, 2017, in Washington, D.C., to discuss strategies for reducing incidents of violence in these workplaces.

A high rate of violence

A recent Government Accountability Office report found that the rate of workplace violence against employees providing healthcare and social assistance services is substantially higher than private industry as a whole. In the report, GAO also recommended that OSHA assess the need for rulemaking to address this hazard. This RFI seeks public comments on the extent and nature of workplace violence in the industry and the effectiveness and feasibility of methods used to prevent such violence.

Comments and materials may be submitted electronically to www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal, or via mail, facsimile or hand delivery. See the Federal Register notice for submission details. The submission deadline is April 6, 2017.

Workers will describe experiences

"The public meeting is intended to supplement written comments by allowing workers, employers and other stakeholders to describe their experiences with workplace violence, as well as allowing for discussion among stakeholders.

The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Jan. 10 at the U.S. Department of Labor, Great Hall, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20210. To register for the meeting, go to https://projects.erg.com/conferences/osha/register-osha-workplace-violence-meeting.html.