Brown Introduces Legislation to Protect Healthcare, Social Service Workers from Workplace Violence

Legislation Would Create Standard Requiring Employers to Develop, Implement Plan to Prevent Workplace Violence; Senators Introduced Legislation as Trump Administration Stalls Progress on OSHA Standards

WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and others to introduce the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act. The bill directs the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an enforceable federal standard, requiring employers in the healthcare and social service sector to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan. 

Incidents of workplace violence are on the rise, especially in the healthcare and social service industries. While the Obama Administration requested OSHA start work to develop a federal standard to address the increase in workplace violence, the Trump Administration has taken no further action. 

“Healthcare and social service workers already face some of the toughest working conditions without also having to worry about the threat of workplace violence,” said Brown. “Every worker deserves a safe working environment, and this legislation is an important step toward creating national standards and protections that will keep workers safe on the job.” 

The Senators’ bill is endorsed by American Federation of Teachers, American Nurses Association, AFGE, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, International Association of Fire Fighters, National Nurses United, and United Steelworkers. 

Senator Brown has long been an advocate of improving worker safety standards and protections. 

In 2017, Brown pressed Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta on a series of actions the Administration took regarding worker safety, including its failure to nominate a qualified Administrator to lead the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In that letter, Brown questioned Secretary Acosta on the Administration’s decision to remove data on deaths in the workplace from its website and implement a new policy to disclose fewer deaths – removing one of the most basic deterrents to unsafe working conditions and depriving workers and families of basic information on workplace safety.

Brown also wrote to Secretary Acosta  urging him to protect mine safety and miners’ health by protecting a recent rule aimed at limiting miners’ exposure to respirable coal mine dust. The Senators’ letter came after the rule was listed among a number of rules to be re-examined for elimination. The rule was aimed at reducing work-related illnesses that miners face like black lung disease. Brown applauded the Department of Labor’s effort to limit coal dust exposure when it was announced in 2014.