Lawmaker introduces bill to reduce workplace violence against social workers, other health care and social services workers

CourtneyRep. Joe Courtney (CT-02) has introduced a bill to reduce workplace violence against health care and social services employees, including social workers.

The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act would require 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 employees from violent incidents in the workplace.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12) and 24 other members of Congress. Rep. Scott is chairman of the Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee and Adams is chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. Rep. Courtney is senior Member of the House Education and Labor Committee.

Health care and social service workers face a disproportionate amount of violence at work, and the data shows that these incidents are on the rise,” said Congressman Courtney. “Safety experts, employees, and Members of Congress have been pressing OSHA to address this outsized risk of violence for years, but have seen no meaningful action.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and a host of other health care, social services, and labor unions support the legislation.

“NASW is proud to support the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act,” NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW, said. “This bill is a crucial step in reducing the staggering number of preventable physical and psychological assaults on social workers and other health and social services professionals.  NASW supports these and other measures to protect these professionals, who provide a wide range of critically needed services in increasingly complex and dangerous settings.”


  1. I have read the bill and it’s clearly a ruse to proliferate organized labor in the healthcare or service industries. The reporting requirements will be expensive to employers which will draw away pay from employees, not to mention drive up costs for their services.

    Currently, OSHA has recommended guidelines to prevent workplace violence, as well as avenues for employees to complain for them to take action. No Federal enforcement law is needed.

  2. I wholeheartedly support and it is very much welcome. I have over 16years of experience in the social work arena outside the US, I have recently gained employment back in the child welfare arena the levels of violence not only from service users but bullying from superiors are on heard of as if workers express their views they face losing their jobs. I am used to a work environment in which I can freely and appropriately express my views without the fear of been sacked. Great way forward.

  3. Bravo! Violence is too much of an issue for our front line health and social services workers. I would like to see OSHA and SAMSHA work on the macro level to develop a plan to eliminate preventable risk.
    Asa social worker, I work daily on behavior plans and interventions for a risk reduction. Very challenging on the front lines.

  4. I Want A Member Of Your Organization. Please Send Require Info.

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