WASHINGTON – Today, H.R. 1309, the bipartisan Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, a bill introduced and led by Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02), passed the House of Representatives, 251 to 158. This important piece of legislation strengthens protections against workplace violence for some of America’s most vulnerable nurses, social workers, and caregivers. Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) cosponsored H.R. 1309, marked the bill up in the Education & Labor Committee, and voted in favor of its final passage in both Committee and on the floor of the House.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is responsible for preventing workplace violence, currently has no specific regulation covering health care and social services workers. Creating a new standard will take a minimum of seven years, although previous standards have taken as long as 20. H.R. 1309 would require OSHA to create an interim policy within one year and a final standard within three and a half years. 

“American caregivers are suffering from workplace violence. They need action now,” said Congresswoman Jahana Hayes. “This bill would fix the problem by setting an immediate and achievable timeline, by extending protections to the 24 states not currently covered by OSHA, and by developing a concrete plan to deal with workplace violence against those who serve our loved ones every day. As a former certified nursing assistant, I know just how much these hardworking men and women sacrifice for their patients. The least we can do is ensure they are safe and protected in the workplace. I thank my Connecticut colleague, Rep. Joe Courtney, for his work on this important bill.”

The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act has been endorsed by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represents a significant number of caregivers.

“Every year, hundreds of nurses, social workers and others are killed, and thousands are injured, due to workplace violence incidents,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “The cost of inaction is too high, and we can no longer allow employers to skirt their duties to protect employees who step up every day to keep us safe, care for our loved ones and make our communities strong and healthy. Our health care and social service workers deserve to be safe at work and to go home to their families at the end of the day. We celebrate the passage of this bill as a major step forward in ensuring that workers are protected and urge the Senate to take this bill up.”

In addition to AFSCME, H.R. 1309 has also been endorsed by a number of organizations, including: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers, American Nurses Association, Communications Workers of America, Connecticut Association of Nurse Anesthetists, International Association of Fire Fighters, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, United Auto Workers, and the United Steelworkers. 



Rep. Jahana Hayes has been a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year. Currently serving her first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District.