Press Release

Bill to Protect Health Care, Social Service Workers from Epidemic of Workplace Violence Poised For Historic House Committee Vote

federal workplace violence prevention bill

Washington, D.C.—On Tuesday, June 11, the House Committee on Education and Labor will be marking up and voting on HR 1309, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, by Rep. Joe Courtney—a historic first for this legislation.

“This is a huge step forward in our fight to get these protections across the finish line,” said National Nurses United president Jean Ross, RN, pointing out that the bill has bi-partisan support, currently with 169 co-sponsors. “Health care and social service workers face rates of workplace violence more than three times higher than workers overall. HR 1309 enshrines the only protections that have proven to help stop this violence before it occurs—by making employers accountable for having a comprehensive, unit-specific prevention plan in place. We urge all representatives to support this legislation, before one more life is shattered or lost to violence.”

What: House Committee on Education and Labor to discuss, vote on HR 1309
When: Tuesday, June 11, 10:15 a.m. 
Where: 2175 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515 

For interviews with NNU nurses about workplace violence, call: Kari Jones, 510-433-2759

Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act Overview:

  • Addresses an epidemic of violence: Workers in the health care and social assistance industry face extremely high rates of workplace violence. Between 2011 and 2016, as reported in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, at least 58 hospital workers died as a result of violence in their workplaces. In 2016, the Government Accountability Office found that health care workers at inpatient facilities were 5 to 12 times more likely to experience nonfatal workplace violence than workers overall.
  • Requires federal OSHA to create a federal workplace violence prevention standard mandating employers develop comprehensive, workplace-specific plans to prevent violence before it happens.
  • Covers a wide variety of workplaces, including hospitals, residential treatment facilities, non-residential treatment settings, medical treatment or social service settings in correctional or detention facilities, psychiatric treatment facilities, substance use disorder treatment centers, community care settings such as group homes and mental health clinics, and federal health care facilities such as those operated by the Veterans Administration and the Indian Health Service, as well as field work settings such as home care and home-based hospice, and emergency services and transport services.
  • Sets a quick timeline on implementation to ensure timely protection for healthcare workers.
  • Sets minimum requirements for the standard and for employers’ workplace violence prevention plans, based on the groundbreaking California legislation. These requirements include unit-specific assessments and implementation of prevention measures, including physical changes to the environment, staffing for patient care and security, employee involvement in all steps of the plan, hands on training, robust record keeping requirements including a violent incident log, protections for employees to report WPV to their employer and law enforcement, among other requirements.