Press Release

Nurses Urge U.S. House of Representatives to Pass Bill Aimed at Protecting Health Care, Social Service Workers from Epidemic of Workplace Violence

NNU supports the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act

House scheduled today to consider Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act

National Nurses United (NNU) today is urging that members of Congress vote in favor of the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1195), an important bipartisan bill that would help remedy an epidemic of threats and assaults facing frontline health workers before, during, and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Today, the chamber is scheduled to hold floor debate before a vote tomorrow on the bill that was introduced by Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-2). The NNU has strongly endorsed the federal legislation, which would mandate that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) create a federal standard requiring health care and social service employers to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan.

“Passage of this important federal legislation would be an important step to help ensure critical, frontline health care and social service workers are protected in the workplace by preventing violence before it happens,” said Jean Ross, RN and an NNU president. “Health care and social service workers have a five times greater likelihood of experiencing a workplace violence-related injury than workers overall. This is unacceptable at any time, but especially so during this pandemic when nurses are risking their lives caring for their patients. The federal government needs to mandate a standard that employers must abide by to prevent workplace violence before it happens.”

NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN, recently authored an op-ed in the Hill publication, saying that “It’s important to remember that when nurses aren’t safe, patients, visitors, and family members are also not safe.”

Tomorrow’s expected floor vote comes just weeks after the House Education and Labor Committee on March 24 approved the legislation in a 27-20 vote.

The committee’s approval came days after its Workforce Protections subcommittee heard testimony from Pascaline Muhindura, an RN in the critical care unit at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo. She described the urgent need for OSHA to issue a Workplace Violence Prevention Standard.

The workplace violence legislation passed the House in the 116th Congress, but did not get a vote in the Senate.