I recently heard about promising new legislation in Massachusetts. The Social Worker Safety in the Workforce legislation is intended to ensure that direct services providers take proactive steps to keep social workers and other staff members safe.
The legislation was passed under Section 30 of House Bill 57 (HB57) as part of Massachusetts' fiscal year 2013 supplemental budget. It was previously introduced in HB4254, S1003, and H1963.
Section 30 calls for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a regulation stating that direct services providers who receive funding from the HHS should establish violence prevention and crisis response plans for social workers, human services workers, volunteers, and all other employees.
The legislation suggests that providers funded by the HHS can include the following in their workplace violence prevention and crisis response plans:
  • Outlining measures the program intends to take to respond to incidents of workplace violence.
  • Establishing a system for documenting threats or incidents of workplace violence. 
  • Developing a violence prevention and response team to monitor compliance with the plan and to assist direct services staff who experience or are threatened with violence. 
  • Implementing a training program to educate staff on ways to reduce the risks of violence.
The HHS is expected to issue regulations by August 15, 2013.
Here at CPI, we’re awaiting the development of the regulations. We hope that they will require violence prevention training—because quality training is essential to making sure that both staff and those in their care stay safe. OSHA recommends that health care and social services workers receive training in recognizing and managing escalating behavior, and urges that ongoing training can reduce the likelihood of workers experiencing violence and assault.
Regardless of where your organization is located or what regulations you’re subject to, implementing violence prevention training now can help you ensure Care, Welfare, Safety, and Security℠ for employees and service users. I urge you to be proactive! Required or not, training staff can help. To learn more about violence prevention training, read about our Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® program, or give us a call at 888.426.2184.