ACTION ALERT: Tell VA Senators Kaine, Warner that You Support the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (S. 4182)
The safety of social workers is a paramount concern of NASW and NASW Virginia. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care and social service workers are nearly five times more likely to be assaulted than other workers, and the rate of violent injuries is growing rapidly.
Lead House sponsor, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT-2), has called these rising rates an epidemic exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but currently, there is no enforceable federal violence prevention standard covering health care and social services. Furthermore, federal guidelines do not cover those professionals working in public facilities.
The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (S. 4182) seeks to protect social workers, health care professionals and social service professionals at work by requiring workplace settings such as hospitals, residential treatment facilities, substance use disorder treatment centers, clinics at correctional or detention facilities, and other service facilities to develop and implement comprehensive violence prevention plans and provide whistleblower protections for workers.
The House of Representatives’ version, H.R. 1195, passed April 16, 2021, with bipartisan support, but there has been little activity in the Senate to bring this to the desk of President Biden.
No one should face violence, intimidation, or fear for their safety while working to help others and save lives. Violence is not just “part of the job,” and studies show that prevention plans work. Many violent incidents can be predicted and minimized with the right staffing, policies and protocols. This legislation builds upon well-established guidelines from the Department of Labor and represents an important step towards making workplaces safer for social workers.
Contact Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner today to ask them to support social workers, nurses, and other healthcare and social service professionals by cosponsoring and moving S. 4182 toward passage.