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Bill requiring OSHA to develop health care violence standard advances

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor adopted a bill to require the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to promulgate a standard to prevent workplace violence in the health care and social services industry on a 26-18 vote.

H.R. 1309, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, aims to address the issue of workplace violence against health care and social service workers, who experience violent incidents at disproportionately higher rates than most other industries, by requiring their employers to develop and implement a workplace violence prevention plan.

“Unfortunately, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, known as OSHA, has not been given the tools to ensure workers are adequately protected,” Chairman Bobby Scott, D-Va., said during a markup of the bill on Tuesday. “OSHA does not have a standard that requires employers to implement workplace violence prevention programs. Merely, they have a voluntary guideline program. The data show that voluntary efforts alone are not working. The rates of serious injuries to our nation’s caregivers from workplace violence are rising nearly every year.”