WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 1195, Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, which provides health care and social service workers the protection they deserve through OSHA standards for responsibility and accountability, and the implementation of workplace violence prevention programs.

“For the last year, essential workers have worked tirelessly on the front lines of this pandemic while the rate of workplace violence against them has continued to rise. Nurses, social workers, and many others in health and social services occupations suffer from disproportionate rates of workplace violence injuries. In 2018, health care workers accounted for nearly three out of four nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses caused by violence.

“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has the responsibility to protect caregivers from workplace violence, but it does not have the basic tools needed to do so. Currently, there is no enforceable standard that requires employers to implement violence prevention plans that would help reduce workplace violence injuries among health care and social service workers. The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act directs OSHA to establish an enforceable workplace standard to protect workers on the job. This bill also requires employers to develop workplace violence prevention programs and identify risks, specify solutions, and require training, reporting, and incident investigations.

“Essential workers who are disproportionately affected by these preventable incidents deserve workplace violence protections, and this bill takes a meaningful step forward in prevention and accountability for these actions.”