OSHA mulls federal standard to prevent workplace violence in healthcare

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is seeking feedback on how to combat workplace violence in healthcare settings, following a federal report calling on the agency to ramp up its violence prevention efforts.

The report, issued by the Government Accountability Office in April, called on OSHA to improve its education and enforcement issues on violence in healthcare settings since the industry has “substantially higher” rates of workplace violence injuries than other professions — nearly five times higher than the average.

In 2014, workplace violence-related injuries in the private sector as a whole occurred at a rate of 1.7 per 10,000 workers, OSHA reported. For the healthcare sector, that rate reached 8.2 per 10,000 workers.

OSHA issued a request for information on Tuesday asking providers and other healthcare stakeholders to weigh in on whether it should propose a federal standard to prevent workplace violence in healthcare and social assistance settings. Comments on the request, and feedback on workplace violence overall, can be submitted until April 6, 2017.

The agency also has slated a public meeting for Jan. 10, 2017, “intended to supplement written comments by allowing workers, employers and other stakeholders to describe their experiences with workplace violence.”