House bill to protect nurses from workplace violence advances

Federal legislation to protect healthcare and social service employees from workplace violence is advancing after being voted out of the House Committee on Education and Labor, the panel announced June 11.

The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act — sponsored by Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn. — passed the committee 26-18. The next step is a House floor vote.

Under the act, healthcare employers would be required to implement a violence prevention plan to protect employees. A standard requiring such prevention plans would be issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which would also oversee implementation of the plans.

The "vote is a big step forward in passing legislation that would hold our employers accountable, through federal OSHA, for having a prevention plan in place to stop workplace violence before it occurs — literally a life-or-death issue," Jean Ross, RN, president of National Nurses United, said in a news release.


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