Back in January, we posted about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) intention to convene a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel (“SBAR Panel”). This Panel would help decide whether OSHA should enact a Prevention of Workplace Violence in Healthcare and Social Assistance standard.

OSHA did convene the SBAR Panel, and now, small entities will share their thoughts on the proposed standard. The SBAR will host five webinar meetings over the next week. Small Entity Representatives (“SERs”) from the economic sectors that will be covered by the standard if it is enacted. SERs will share how they envision the standard would affect their respective workplaces’ functioning.

As stated on OSHA’s Workplace Violence SBREFA page, “healthcare and social assistance services have a common set of risk factors related to the unique relationship between the care provider and the patient, client, or their visitors” that increases the probability of nonfatal workplace violence. Covid-19 only worsened that reality: wait times for services became longer; resources grew scarce due to supply chain problems; and patients and clients had to endure isolation. This standard, if enacted, will have the objective of curbing workplace violence instigated by a customer, client, or patient.

Only SERs may speak during the meetings. However, anyone can join the panels in ‘listen only’ mode. For public access, visit the SBREFA page and click ‘Public Access’ on the righthand side.

The panel will release its final report on May 1. Interested parties may make comments here until May 14 using docket number OSHA-2016-0014. If you would like to submit a comment but need help with drafting, Husch Blackwell’s attorneys are ready to assist.