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Kaine Cosponsors Bill to Protect Health Care Professionals from Workplace Violence

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, cosponsored legislation led by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) that would help protect health care and social services employees from workplace violence following increased violent incidents against them.

“Our nation’s health care and social service workers make tremendous sacrifices, and we should do everything we can to ensure they have a safe working environment to carry out their critical work caring for our loved ones,” said Senator Kaine. “This legislation will help ensure our healers are better protected from senseless violence against them.”

Workers in the health care and social service industries experience the highest rates of injuries caused by workplace violence. A 2016 GAO study reported that rates of violence against health care workers are up to twelve times higher than rates for the overall workforce, and 70% of nonfatal workplace assaults in 2016 occurred in the health care and social assistance sectors.

The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act would direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a standard requiring health care and social service employers to write and implement a workplace violence prevention plan to prevent and protect their employees from violent incidents. It would ensure that health care and social service workplaces adopt proven prevention techniques and are prepared to respond in the tragic event of a violent incident.

The bill is cosponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tina Smith (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY), Jack Reed (D-RI), Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Michael Bennet (D-CO).

The bill is supported by health care and social service professionals, as well as unions representing workers in these sectors, including National Nurses United (NNU), American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), AFL-CIO, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), American Federation of Government Employees, International Association of Fire Fighters, United Steelworkers (USW), Public Citizen, and American Nurses Association.

Full text of the legislation is available here.