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What the New House Bill on Workplace Violence Prevention Would Mean for Health Care Workers

With 251 voting for, versus 158 voting against, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 1309, the “Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act” Friday, sending the bill to the Senate for a second vote.

The bill’s support largely reflected party lines in the Democrat-controlled House, though 32 Republicans did reach across the aisle to support the bill, which was authored by Connecticut Democrat Rep. Joe Courtney.

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According the official summary: “This bill requires the Department of Labor to address workplace violence in the health care and social service sectors. Specifically, Labor must promulgate an occupational safety and health standard that requires certain employers in the health care and social service sectors … to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for protecting health care workers, social service workers, and other personnel from workplace violence.”

If signed into the law, the bill would provide employers one year to develop a provisional plan for protecting health care workers, and 42 months to develop and implement a final plan for investigating incidents of violence, educating staff on risk management, meeting specific recording requirements, and creating a safe space for health care workers to report acts of violence or threats.

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