HAP Resource Center

Support Memo to Pennsylvania Senate, Support for Senate Bill 351, Workforce Safety

October 28, 2019

TO:   Honorable Members of the Pennsylvania Senate

FROM:  The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania

SUBJECT:  Support for Senate Bill 351

On behalf of The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP), this memo expresses the hospital community’s support for Senator Judy Ward’s Senate Bill 351 without amendment for the reasons expressed below.

While health care workers comprise only 13 percent of the United States workforce, 60 percent of workplace assaults occur in health care settings. The data is compelling and unsettling, given that health care workers take care of people at their most vulnerable time, and work to keep them safe.

  • The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) analyzed workplace violence injury surveillance data from 2012 to 2015. The institute identified a 72 percent increase in the rate of workplace violence injuries within the 105 Occupational Health Safety Network (OHSN)- participating hospitals.
  • NIOSH found that the 2012 rate of 4.4 injuries per 1,000 full-time equivalent workers went up to 7.2 during 2015 and, on average, the overall rate of workplace violence injury among OHSN participating hospitals increased by 23 percent annually during the three-year period.
  • A separate survey of emergency departments revealed that 86 percent of the participants had been either threatened or assaulted at least once within the last 18 months and studies shows that hospital workers have higher rates of non-fatal workplace assault injuries compared to other industries.

​Unfortunately, whether it’s triggered by stress, pain, anger, fear, or the influence of drugs or alcohol, violence against health care workers is on the rise.

Senate Bill 351 raises the penalty for an assault on an on-duty health care practitioner. The penalty is raised from a misdemeanor of the second degree to a felony of the second degree.

HAP believes the statistics above speak to the need for SB 351 and respectfully ask for your support when it comes before you for consideration.

Please vote “yes” on Senate Bill 351 without amendment.



Topics: State Advocacy, Workforce

Revision Date: 10/28/2019

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