President Ann Twomey’s Letter to the Washington Post: OSHA should protect nurses and other health-care workers from on-the-job assaults
Thanks to Petula Dvorak for shining a light on workplace violence in her Sept. 12 Metro column “It’s time we protect — and respect — nurses.” Health-care and social-service workers are twice as likely to suffer an assault at work as those in other occupations, and the problem is getting worse.
Some employers ignore the safety concerns and treat violent threats as a normal part of doing business. They are not. No one, especially nurses and other care providers, should fear assault or injury for doing their jobs. Because our members are being hit, stabbed and threatened on a regular basis, we and other unions asked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in July 2016 for a national standard to protect social workers and health-care workers. Employers can develop programs to help prevent and reduce the severity of assaults in the workplace. Most will not do so unless required by a federal or state agency.
Health-care and social-service workers across the country deserve a federal OSHA standard. Job-safety regulations save lives and prevent career-ending injuries, allowing health-care and social-service workers to do their jobs helping the rest of us.
Ann Twomey, Rutherford, N.J.