The rate of workplace violence against employees providing healthcare and social assistance services is substantially higher than private industry as a whole, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. In 2013, the most recent year that data were available, private-sector healthcare workers in in-patient facilities, such as hospitals, experienced workplace violence-related injuries requiring days off from work at an estimated rate at least five times higher than the rate for private-sector workers overall, according to data from the Department of Labor (DOL). The most common types of reported assaults were hitting, kicking, and beating.
The GAO report recommended that OSHA assess the need for rulemaking to address this hazard. In response, OSHA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) on whether to propose a standard to prevent workplace violence in healthcare and social assistance settings. The agency has also scheduled a public meeting in Washington, DC to discuss strategies for reducing incidents of violence in these workplaces.
The RFI seeks public comments on the extent and nature of workplace violence in the industry and the effectiveness and feasibility of methods used to prevent such violence. Comments and materials may be submitted electronically to the Federal eRulemaking Portal, or via mail, facsimile or hand delivery. See the Federal Register notice for submission details. The submission deadline is April 6, 2017.
The public meeting is intended to supplement written comments by allowing workers, employers, and other stakeholders to describe their experiences with workplace violence, as well as allowing for discussion among stakeholders. The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, on January 10 at the U.S. Department of Labor, Great Hall, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20210. Registration for the meeting is available online.