WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) voted to pass bipartisan legislation that would protect health care and social service workers from workplace violence, which has increased by 69 percent over the past decade according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics.
“Our health care and social service workers do amazing work every day, but too often at great risk,” said Congressman Kim. “Every worker deserves a safe workplace, and this bipartisan bill will take a big step in ensuring that the professionals taking care of people in Burlington and Ocean Counties are taken care of themselves.”
The Workplace Violence for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, H.R. 1309, would provide protection for workers by requiring that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issue an enforceable federal standard that would require employers to develop workplace violence prevention programs that would save lives.
“As a union of healthcare and social service professionals, we applaud Congressional leaders for moving forward legislation to create enforceable standards to finally make workplace safety a priority,” said Debbie White, RN and President of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees, AFT/AFL-CIO. “No longer can we accept that violence is “just part of the job.” Workplace violence is a daily reality and prevention is only possible when systems are put into place to reduce the risk.”
“Those who care for our most vulnerable should not be assaulted or threatened while providing a service that we can agree is important to all of us,” said Cecelia Leto, Project Director, NJ Work Environment Council. “We urge Congress to require healthcare and social service employers to put systems in place to protect their workers from workplace violence.”
Congressman Kim has been a champion for caregivers and health care workers during his first term in Congress. The Congressman has met with local health care and social service workers from Burlington and Ocean Counties, where they have shared stories of experiencing workplace violence. Earlier this month, he hosted a National Caregivers Month Forum at Ocean County College to bring together local caregivers and advocates to highlight their issues and ways that Congress can best serve the health care and caregiver community.