OSHA Investigating Standard for Workplace Violence

Dec. 13, 2016

The GAO report recommended that OSHA assess the need for new codes and regulations to address working hazards, including hitting, kicking and beating.

According to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, the rate of workplace violence against employees providing healthcare and social assistance services is substantially higher than private industry as a whole.

In 2013, 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 new codes and regulations to address these working hazards. 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 RFI seeks public comment 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.

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