House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Workplace Violence in Healthcare and Social Service
A subcommittee of the House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor heard testimony on Feb. 27 about possible government action to protect healthcare and social service workers from workplace violence. The Subcommittee on Workforce Protections hearing included testimony related to H.R. 1309, the “Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act.”  In her opening statement, subcommittee chairwoman Alma Adams, D-N.C., acknowledged that workplace violence is “a serious concern” for 15 million healthcare workers in the United States. Adams said that healthcare and social service workers were nearly five times as likely to suffer a serious injury from workplace violence than workers in other sectors.  In 2016, OSHA initiated the rulemaking process for a standard on workplace violence in healthcare and social service. But work on the rule has stalled, and OSHA inspectors must use the agency’s authority under the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s General Duty Clause to hold employers accountable for protecting their workers from violence on the job. Adams questioned the effectiveness of the General Duty Clause. H.R. 1309 would compel OSHA to issue a standard requiring employers within the healthcare and social service sectors to develop and implement a workplace violence prevention plan. More information about the hearing, including a video and transcripts of witnesses’ testimony, is available on the website of the House Education and Labor Committee.