OSHA’s proposed Prevention of Workplace Violence in Health Care and Social Assistance rule has been submitted to the Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panel.
The SBAR Panel received the proposed rule on March 1, which marks yet another step OSHA has taken “in developing a programmatic approach for the prevention of workplace violence in the healthcare and social assistance industries,” according to law firm Littler Mendelson.
Panel analyzes rule’s financial impact on small businesses
OSHA and other agencies are required to convene a SBAR Panel before publishing a proposed rule that could have significant economic impact on a substantial number of small business entities.
The panel consists of members of OSHA, the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, and the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. This panel will listen to comments from small entity representatives, including small businesses, non-profit organizations and governmental jurisdictions that could be affected by the proposed rule. The panel will also review the draft proposed rule.
Once convened, the panel has 60 days to submit a written report to OSHA. OSHA will then review the report, make revisions and publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register.
In this case, the SBAR Panel must submit its final report to OSHA by May 1, 2023.
What’s included in the rule?
OSHA says workplace violence is “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” That can include threats and verbal abuse along with physical assaults or even homicide, Littler Mendelson states.
The law firm feels the rule would apply to facilities such as:
- hospitals, including emergency departments
- psychiatric hospitals and residential behavioral health facilities
- ambulatory mental healthcare and substance abuse treatment centers
- freestanding emergency centers
- residential care facilities
- home healthcare
- emergency medical services, and
- social assistance, excluding child day care centers.
While the proposed rule hasn’t been published yet, OSHA has given hints as to what is in the standard, including:
- a workplace violence prevention program
- hazard assessments
- implementation of control measures with added control requirements in high-risk areas
- incident investigation and maintenance of a workplace violence log, and
- an anti-retaliation policy to encourage employee reporting of workplace violence incidents.
Littler Mendelson states that this is similar to the workplace violence prevention regulation that California implemented in April 2017.
Thanks to data from the California rule, the total cost to implement the standard is estimated to be $1.22 billion per year. The rule would cover 14 million employees working at more than 300,000 establishments.