According to OSHA, health care employees experience nearly as many serious injuries due to workplace violence as do employees in all other industries combined. As a result, dating back to at least 2015, the agency has continued to strongly encourage health care employers to maintain robust programs to safeguard against workplace violence. In 2016, in fact, OSHA explored the possibility of implementing an occupational and safety standard specifically designed to protect employees in the health care and social services industries from workplace violence.
Although OSHA did not ultimately implement any such standard, the U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to pass the “Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act” on November 21, 2019. The bill would essentially direct the Secretary of Labor to issue the same type of occupational safety and health standard for these industries as previously contemplated by OSHA. If passed into law, it would require various employers within the health care and social services industries to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan designed to reduce violent incidents in the workplace.