This week, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1195) is up for a vote on the House floor. The bill addresses workplace violence in the healthcare and social service sectors by directing OSHA to set safety standards and by requiring employers to implement a workplace violence prevention plan to protect employees from violent incidents.
The bill passed the House last year and was introduced in the Senate, where Mitch McConnell, who was Majority Leader at the time, refused to take action on it.
According to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care and social service workers are five times as likely to experience injuries due to workplace violence than workers overall.
"Healthcare providers frequently care for aggressive and combative patients," said Sara Jungles, a member of Denver Health Workers United, CWA Local 7799. "It is so common for our patients to physically, verbally, and even sexually assault us that it becomes expected. Through all this, we are expected to stay focused on keeping our patients safe even over our own safety at times. We make jokes about our experiences to keep us disassociated and coming back to do it all over again tomorrow."