Arizona residents might be shocked to learn that about one in two workplace assault victims is employed in the health care sector. According to figures from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, doctors, nurses and other health care workers are four times more likely to be the victim of a violent workplace assault than those employed in other fields. The dangers of administering medical care have alarmed experts for years, and they recently attracted the attention of lawmakers.
The U.S. House of Representatives took action to protect health care workers on Nov. 11 by passing the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Services Act. The bill tasks the Secretary of Labor with ensuring that hospitals and other health care employers put measures into place that are designed to improve workplace safety and prevent violence. The Emergency Nurses Association supports the legislation.
The ENA has been lobbying for legislative action to be taken on the issue for some time. In May, about 175 ENA members and leaders traveled to the nation’s capital to meet with lawmakers during the organization’s yearly Day on the Hill initiative. The ENA also recently aligned itself with the American College of Emergency Physicians to encourage emergency room doctors and nurses to speak up about the dangers they face on a daily basis.
Attorneys with experience in cases involving workplace injuries may assist workers who have been assaulted while on the job with the workers’ compensation application process, which is sometimes complex. Attorneys may seek to ensure that claims paperwork is completed correctly and supported by relevant medical documentation, and they might also advocate on behalf of injured workers during workers’ compensation hearings if their claims are denied. When assaults and injures may have been the result of gross negligence on the part of employers, attorneys might suggest pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.