The Occupa­tional Safety and Health Admin­is­tra­tion (OSHA) is consid­ering whether to develop a new standard to prevent workplace violence in health care and social-assis­tance settings. The agency has issued a public Request for Infor­ma­tion on the extent and nature of workplace violence in the industry and the effec­tive­ness and feasi­bility of methods used to prevent such violence.

Infor­ma­tion about the rule, including how to submit formal comment is avail­able at wsna​.to/​F​e​d​e​r​a​l​R​e​g​i​s​t​e​r​-​W​o​r​k​p​l​a​ceViolence. Comments must be submitted by April 6, 2017.

There has been increasing atten­tion to the issue of workplace violence against health­care workers. A recent Govern­ment Account­ability Office report found that the rate of workplace violence against employees providing health care and social assis­tance services is substan­tially higher than in private industry as a whole. The report from GAO included a recom­men­da­tion that OSHA assess the need for rulemaking to address this hazard. Read the report at gao​.gov/​a​s​s​e​t​s​/​6​8​0​/​675858.pdf.

AFT Nurses and Health­care Profes­sionals, with whom WSNA is affil­i­ated, has made reduc­tion of workplace violence against health­care workers a priority issue. AFT stated: Health­care workers need the protec­tion afforded by an OSHA regula­tion on workplace violence preven­tion which would guide the devel­op­ment of compre­hen­sive and effec­tive preven­tion programs in health­care settings, and provide a more concrete measure by which facil­i­ties would be held accountable.” 

See more on this topic at aft​.org/​h​e​a​l​t​h​c​a​r​e​/​w​o​r​k​p​l​a​c​e-violence.