Feds pushing healthcare worker protections

Healthcare workers are facing new protections from the federal government.

The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is looking to establish new workplace safety standards for healthcare and social assistance employees. On Tuesday, the agency issued a request for information, which could lead to future rulemaking.

“Workplace violence against employees providing healthcare and social assistance services is a serious concern,” OSHA said.

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), healthcare and social assistance employees are five times more likely than those in other industries to be assaulted in the workplace. In 2011, the most recent year data is available, there may have been as many as 80,170 instances of violence against workers in healthcare facilities, the agency said.

“The most common types of reported assaults were hitting, kicking, and beating,” according to the GAO.

To address this problem, OSHA is searching for “interventions and controls used to prevent violence.”

The public has until April 6, 2017 to comment.