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House passes health care workplace violence bill

Crime scene

The House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday to require hospitals and other health care employers to take specific steps to prevent workplace violence against staff and patients.

H.B. 1309, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Services Act of 2019, passed on a 251-158 vote, largely along party lines.

Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., introduced the bill in February and amassed more than 225 listed co-sponsors, most of whom are Democrats. The bill was also publicly supported by the Schaumburg, Illinois-based Emergency Nurses Association.

According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, about half of workplace assault victims are health care workers, and serious violent incidents in the workplace are nearly four times as likely to occur to health care workers than employees in other occupations.

The legislation directs the secretary of labor to require hospitals and other health care employers to develop and implement comprehensive and worker-driven violence prevention plans.

If signed into law, the legislation would take effect one year after the issuance of an interim final workplace prevention standard.

The bill has moved to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.


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