top of page
Shutterstock_1636197367 (2).jpg

The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care
Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1195)

Key Components of the Health Care and Social Service Workers Act

Workplace Violence Prevention Plans

The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, if passed, would require each employer falling under the scope of the Act to develop a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan tailored to the specific needs of health care and social service settings. These plans would have to address risk factors unique to different environments, such as hospitals, nursing homes, and community care facilities. The goal is to create customized strategies for each setting, focusing on identifying potential hazards, implementing preventive measures, and continuously assessing the effectiveness of these strategies within health administration.​

Training and Support for Health Care Workers

The Act mandates annual training for employees, utilizing resources from OSHA, CDC, and NIOSH. This training seeks to equip workers with the knowledge and skills needed to prevent and respond to workplace violence. The training programs included:

  • Recognizing Early Warning Signs: Helping staff identify behaviors that could indicate a potential for violence.

  • De-escalation Techniques: Teaching methods to defuse potentially violent situations.

  • Personal Safety Practices: Providing strategies for maintaining personal safety, while delivering quality care.

  • Incident Reporting Procedures: Ensuring that all staff understand how to report incidents and threats promptly and accurately.

Reporting and Response Protocols

The Act proposes clear protocols for reporting workplace violence threats, as well as responding to violent incidents. These protocols include:

  • Immediate Threat Reporting: Employees would be trained on how to quickly report any immediate threats to their safety, or the safety of others.

  • Structured Response Plans: Establishing specific steps to be taken once a threat is reported, including notifying law enforcement, securing the area, and providing support to affected employees.

  • Documentation and Follow-Up: Providing strategies for maintaining personal safety, while delivering quality care.

  • Incident Reporting Procedures: Detailed documentation of incidents would be required, along with follow-up actions to prevent recurrence and support affected workers. This would include maintaining a log of all violent incidents to track patterns and improve future prevention efforts.

Additional Measures

The Act also emphasizes the importance of creating a culture of safety within health care and social service organizations. This includes:

  • Leadership Commitment: Ensuring that organizational leaders are committed to workplace violence prevention and actively support the implementation of safety measures.

  • Employee Involvement: Encouraging the involvement of all employees in developing and refining violence prevention plans to ensure they are practical and effective.

  • Continuous Improvement: Regularly reviewing and updating workplace violence prevention plans and training programs based on new data, feedback, and best practices​.

The Health Care and Social Service Workers Act aims to create a safer working environment for health care and social service workers. It focuses on reducing workplace violence, improving job satisfaction, and enhancing employee retention through comprehensive prevention plans, annual training, and clear reporting protocols. Emphasizing leadership commitment, employee involvement, and continuous improvement, the Act intends to foster a culture of safety within organizations. These measures are designed to ensure that all workers could perform their duties in a secure and supportive environment.

Support and Advocacy for the Act

The Health Care and Social Service Workers Act received extensive support from a broad coalition of organizations, as well as 145 cosponsors in the House. Key endorsements came from:

  • National Nurses United

  • Emergency Nurses Association

  • National Association of Social Workers


  • AFGE

  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

These endorsements highlight a shared commitment to enhancing the safety of health care and social service workers. The widespread support also reflects a unified front in advocating for stronger protections against workplace violence.

Legislative History and Outcome

  • Introduction and Progress: The Health Care and Social Service Workers Act was introduced with 145 cosponsors. It moved through the House Committee on Education and Labor and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where it was discussed and amended.

  • Outcome: Despite its progress and strong backing, the Act did not pass. Concerns over the cost of implementation and potential regulatory burdens on health care facilities contributed to its failure.

  • Current Status and Ongoing Efforts: The Act remains stalled. Advocates continue to push for legislative measures to address workplace violence in health care and social services.


Current State of the Act: Currently, The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act is sitting in limbo. It was read twice by the Senate in April of 2021 and then referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions for further review. Despite ongoing efforts by supporters of the bill, legal professionals remain divided on whether it will ever achieve Senate approval, or will instead remain in limbo indefinitely.

Impact of the Act's Failure to Achieve Senate Approval: The failure of the Health Care and Social Service Workers Act to gain Senate approval thus far leaves health care and social service workers more vulnerable to workplace violence than they would be with the act's passing. Without mandated protections, these workers face continued risks.

Future Directions: It is possible that this bill will be passed sometime in the future if the Senate chooses to revisit it in any meaningful way. There is also potential for introducing similar legislation or developing new workplace violence prevention efforts. Some states, like California with its SB 553, are enacting their own laws to protect health care workers. Ongoing advocacy and support remain crucial to push for laws that protect these essential workers. The commitment to improving occupational safety must continue to drive legislative action.

bottom of page