Workplace violence Health care/social assistance Health Care Workers

AMA adopts policies on workplace violence, paid sick leave

Nurse in purple

Chicago – The American Medical Association is calling on OSHA to require health care employers to implement programs intended to prevent workplace violence.

The policy was adopted by the AMA House of Delegates at the association’s annual meeting on June 14.

“As violent incidents continue to plague hospitals, emergency departments, residential care settings and treatment centers, we must do everything we can to protect the health and well-being of our health care workers,” AMA Board Member Jesse M. Ehrenfeld said in a press release.

The policy also urges doctors to partake in training on preventing and reacting to threats of workplace violence, reporting incidents, and helping to cultivate a culture of safety.

OSHA does not require employers to follow the agency’s guidelines for preventing workplace violence in health care, AMA notes, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics data that shows about 70 percent of reported workplace assaults from 2011 to 2013 occurred in the health care and social services sector.

The policy was one of several newly adopted AMA policies “aimed at improving the health of the nation.” Another policy, also approved on June 14, acknowledges the benefits of paid sick leave and other elective time off.

Recent studies have determined that workers without paid sick leave are more likely to work while ill and postpone medical care, the AMA states, adding that the United States is “the only industrialized nation without a federal family-leave law that guarantees workers may receive pay while taking time to care for themselves or their family.”

AMA also reiterated its current policy that supports voluntary leave policies that maintain job security and health benefits during leave.

“With both dual-earner and single-parent households on the rise in the United States, it is increasingly challenging for workers to juggle family and work,” former AMA Board Chair Barbara L. McAneny said in a press release.

An AMA spokesperson said both policies will be posted to the association’s website in the coming weeks.

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