January 23, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – On Occupational Safety and Health Administration director David Michaels’ last day on the job, the agency approved plans to begin developing rules to forestall violence against health-care workers.
OSHA staff were “shocked at the high rate of workplace violence,” Michaels, who has headed the agency since 2009, told a hearing Jan. 10, after union officials and members had talked about health-care workers being assaulted by patients. Reported incidents have increased significantly in the last 10 years, Rebecca Reindel, senior safety and health specialist at the AFL-CIO, told Bloomberg BNA. The AFL-CIO, National Nurses United, and other unions filed petitions in July 2016 asking OSHA to develop a standard that would require health-care employers to create policies to prevent violence. These policies “can’t just be, train the workers to take down a violent person,” said Mark Catlin, the health and safety director at the Service Employees International Union. Developing the rules will be “a slow process, under the best of conditions,” said Jordan Barab, acting director through Jan. 20. The Trump administration may also resist creating new regulations. Read more