House Passes Emergency Nurses Association-backed Workplace Violence Legislation
April 16, 2021 • Government Relations
ENA urges the Senate to take similar action to protect health care workers
SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (April 16, 2021) The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday approved the ENA-supported Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act following its introduction by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) in February.
“We know that ED staff, including emergency nurses, consistently face violent attacks in their workplace and that is unacceptable,” said ENA President Ron Kraus, MSN, RN, EMT, CEN, ACNS-BC, TCRN. “The advancement of this important and timely legislation is a critical step in the protection of America’s health care providers. Workplace violence is not a part of the job and should not be tolerated.”
The bipartisan bill would require health care and social service employers to develop and implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan which must include procedures to identify and respond to risks that make health care facilities, such as emergency departments, vulnerable to violent incidents. The latest version includes important language that ensures workers are informed specifically about anti-retaliation protections for those who report violent incidents.
Workplace violence has long been a top priority for ENA, which submitted a letter of support to Rep. Courtney in February after he introduced the bill in the newly seated Congress. ENA backed similar bills considered during the last two congressional cycles. In 2019, ENA and the American College of Emergency Physicians united to launch the No Silence on ED Violence campaign focused on raising awareness about the issue, while also providing emergency nurses and physicians relevant resources and a peer support network.
At this time, there has not been a companion bill introduced in the Senate. ENA encourages the Senate to follow the House’s lead on this important legislation and is working with Senate offices to ensure it is brought forward for consideration soon.