The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation Nov. 21 requiring OSHA to write new workplace standards to protect healthcare professionals and social services workers.

The Workplace Violence Prevention for Healthcare and Social Service Workers Act directs OSHA to issue new standards requiring employers to write and implement a workplace violence prevention plan that protects employees.

The House passed HR 1309 on a bipartisan, 251-158 vote. The legislation now heads to the U.S. Senate.

"These are some of the same people we depend on to take care of us when we need it most, and they shouldn't have to fear for their own lives while they're at work trying to save ours," said one of the bill's sponsors, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT 2).

The U.S. Labor Department says that from 2002 to 2013, the rate of serious workplace violence incidents—those requiring days off for an injured worker to recover—was on average four times greater in healthcare than private industry.

Those numbers may not reflect the true extent of the problem as less than one third of doctors and nurses report when they are victims of violence.

Workplace violence cost U.S. hospitals and health systems roughly $2.7 billion in 2016, according to a report prepared for the American Hospital Association.

For more information, contact CBIA's Phillip Montgomery (860.244.1982).