Washington D.C. January 10, 2017.
SEIU Nurse Alliance leaders Kathy Hughes, RN, SEIU 121RN Liaison to the SEIU Nurse Alliance of California and Deborah Bonn, RN and Director of SEIU Nurse Alliance of PA, participated in a day-long public meeting held by Federal OSHA to discuss the growing problem of violence in workplaces and strategies for reducing incidents of violence. Mark Catlin, SEIU’s Health and Safety Director also participated.
They testified about violence faced by SEIU nurses, healthcare and social service workers and the need for facility specific prevention plans based on local hazard assessments. Under OSHA, employers have the primary responsibility to develop and implement violence prevention program, but these are best done with the involvement of local unions and front-line workers.
At this public meeting, Dr. David Michaels, former head of OSHA under the Obama administration, announced that OSHA has accepted petitions submitted last July by SEIU, and other healthcare unions to start work on a new standard.
Following this meeting, OSHA is requesting public comments on the extent and nature of workplace violence in the industry and the effectiveness and feasibility of methods used to prevent such violence. The deadline for comments is April 6, 2017.
SEIU Healthcare PA members and Pennsylvania healthcare workers interested in submitting comments and stories should contact Deb Bonn, at email@example.com no later than March 15 so they can share their experiences and comment with will be included in the larger submission from SEIU.
Over the past 20 years, the SEIU Nurse Alliance has fought for worker protection from workplace violence and winning a state law in New York to protect public sector workers in 2006 and in October 2016, a California OSHA state regulation to protect most private and public sector healthcare workers.