Sinema, Murkowski Continue Bipartisan Efforts Strengthening Workplace Safety for Social Workers and Health Professionals

Jun 16, 2022

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) reintroduced the bipartisan Protecting Social Workers and Human Services Professionals from Workplace Violence Act – legislation strengthening workplace protections for social workers and home and behavioral health professionals, increasing access to training and tools to keep social and health workers safe.
“Strengthening much-needed workplace safety funding for social workers, nurses, and health aides will help recruit and retain qualified specialists to serve vulnerable Arizona families, who are in incredible need of support as we emerge from the pandemic,” said Senator Sinema, a licensed social worker.
“No one should ever be subjected to workplace violence, but sadly that is a reality for far too many. Social workers and health professionals face unique vulnerabilities at work, and in recent years have faced increasing incidents of workplace assaults,” said Senator Murkowski. “Our bipartisan legislation addresses workplace violence by providing resources to create safer working conditions, including safety equipment, crisis management training, and support services for employees that experience a violent or traumatic event. By providing a grant program geared toward implementing workplace safety measures, we are ensuring our healthcare workers have access to the necessary tools, training, and technology to keep themselves and others safe.”

The bipartisan Protecting Social Workers and Human Services Professionals from Workplace Violence Act establishes a grant program to fund workplace safety programs for social workers and health professionals, ensuring these public servants can continue doing their jobs safely.
Social and health professionals provide critical services to the most vulnerable populations. Dedicated social workers, nurses, and home and behavioral health aides often meet their clients where they are – providing mental health and family services in client homes, in the community, and outside the four walls of an office. Due to the nature of their jobs, these professionals are more likely to be physically and/or verbally assaulted while on the job. In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that health and social service workers were nearly five times as likely to suffer serious workplace violence injury than workers in other sectors. Due to the health and financial challenges associated with the pandemic, violence against health and social workers have increased, contributing further to health care workers burnout.