Editor's Note

Editor's Note: Helping the healers

My mom has been dealing with a health issue recently, so over the past few months I’ve been going with her to a series of appointments at a hospital system in Chicago.

Both of us have been struck by the high level of professionalism and caring we’ve experienced from staff members at all levels. When you’re nervous and not feeling well, the kindness and compassion of others can make all the difference, and I’m deeply appreciative of everything the people at the hospital do to create an atmosphere in which patients feel cared for and safe.

My appreciation and respect is intensified by the knowledge that for health care workers, their own safety is a real concern. Federal data shows that workers in health care facilities face a substantially higher risk of on-the-job violence – often from combative patients and patients’ families – than workers in other industries.

On March 8, 13 members of the House introduced a bill that would direct OSHA to create a standard aimed at preventing workplace violence in health care facilities. In January of last year, OSHA agreed to pursue such a standard. However, the rulemaking was moved to “long-term action” status on the first regulatory agenda released under the Trump administration.

Anyone who reads this magazine knows the long, uphill battle any potential OSHA standard faces, regardless of presidential administration. So, even if a standard on workplace violence in health care doesn’t happen in the near future, I hope the attempts continue to raise awareness of the issue and prompt employers to do everything they can to protect the safety of the people who work to protect our health.

Melissa J. Ruminski The opinions expressed in “Editor’s Note” do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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