House passes bill to address violence against health workers

The House of Representatives passed legislation (H.R. 1309) requiring the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to set standards employers must follow to prevent workplace violence. These include developing and implementing comprehensive plans and prohibiting retaliation against those who report workplace violence. The American Hospital Association notes the bill also would require health care and social service employers to comply with OSHA violence prevention standards in order to participate in Medicare. OSHA currently provides voluntary guidelines for workplace violence prevention and may cite employers who fail to maintain a workplace free from recognized serious hazards. According to OSHA, half of workplace assault victims work in health care. The Office of Management and Budget recommended the president veto the bill in its current form, saying it violates principles of federalism by mandating the nationwide adoption of California standards. (HealthLeaders Media story, 11/21/19)