November 21, 2019

Media Alert — AIHA Applauds the US House for Approving the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309)

What: The American Industrial Hygiene Association applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309). AIHA encourages the U.S. Senate and President Donald J. Trump to swiftly enact this bill into law.

Why: The bipartisan bill calls for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to create a national standard that requires health care and social service employers to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan. Each plan would be developed and executed collaboratively, with the participation of workers, and tailored to address the unique risk factors and hazards that exist in each work area. This legislation is especially important because health care and social service workers face extremely high rates of workplace violence.

“The threat of workplace violence looms large over health care and social service workers as they care for us and our loved ones,” said Kathy Murphy, president of AIHA. “These workers are four times more likely than workers overall to experience violence at work. This should not be the case, and there’s something our leaders in government can do now. By enacting this urgently needed bill into law, policymakers will help accelerate the development and implementation of workplace violence prevention plans in some of the nation’s highest risk workplaces.”

Each year, approximately 2 million Americans report having been the victim of workplace violence. According to OSHA, between 2011 and 2013, 70% to 74% of workplace violence occurred in health care and social service settings. The New England Journal of Medicine’s 2016 comprehensive review, “Workplace Violence Against Health Care Workers in the United States,” reports that although employees in the health care and social service sectors account for 12.2% of the workforce, nearly 75% of workplace assaults occur in a health care setting.

Preventing workplace violence is part of AIHA’s Public Policy Agenda, which focuses on 15 critical issues that play an important role in creating a healthy and safe work environment.

Where: For strategies on keeping worksites safe, please read the Synergist article “Preventing Workplace Violence.” For more information on H.R. 1309, please visit Congress’ website.

Who: Founded in 1939, AIHA is a nonprofit organization serving professionals dedicated to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control, and confirmation of environmental stressors in or arising from the workplace that may result in injury, illness, or impairment, or affect the well-being of workers and members of the community. AIHA provides comprehensive education programs and other products and services that help its members maintain the highest professional standards. More than half of AIHA’s nearly 8,500 members are Certified Industrial Hygienists, and many hold other professional designations. AIHA serves as a resource for those employed in the industrial, consulting, academic, and government sectors.

Contact: For additional information, please contact Mark Ames, AIHA’s director of government relations, at mames@aiha.org.