OSHA, Will You Help Us?

My name is Kip Teitsort.  After I was car-jacked while working on an ambulance, it became my passion to help change the safety culture in emergency medicine.

Violence in medicine is the “dirty little secret”.  Although the Bureau of Labor statistics state that assault on medical staff is THE leading cause of lost work time,  most assaults go un-reported due to the culture of acceptance as “part of the job”.

 I have met so many people that have shared their personal stories of being attacked on the job. They tell me how they felt compelled to stay quiet for fear of retribution from their employer.

I am asking you to look into supporting this letter (below) by Senator Murphy (CT), and possibly writing your own,  asking the Labor Department to have OSHA specifically address  violence  in healthcare.



Secretary of Labor

U.S. Department of Labor

200 Constitution Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20210


Dear Secretary Perez,


I write as a member of the Senate Committee on Health Education Labor & Pensions to ask the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) to develop a new workplace safety standard to protect workers in healthcare settings from workplace violence. I am deeply troubled by reports of violence in hospitals and other healthcare settings in Connecticut and throughout the country, and believe that a new standard is required to ensure the safety of my constituents.


According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Emergency Nursing, 76% of nurses experienced some violence in the workplace, and 30% experienced a physical assault. Just a few months ago, Dr. Michael Davidson was shot and killed at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. I have also heard of countless non-fatal, but equally alarming incidents from nurses, doctors, and hospital staff throughout my state. And right here in Connecticut, in 2010, a patient at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut pulled a handgun from his hospital gown and fired it several times, wounding nurse and Marine Corps veteran Andy Hull. Incidents of workplace violence in these healthcare settings are frequent, with assaults ranging from punching and kicking, to attacks with pens and other sharp objects. I believe strongly, as I know you do, that exposure to violence should not be considered part of the normal work environment for these nurses, doctors, and hospital staff. These employees are keeping our communities healthy, and they deserve every protection we can give them.


While I am appreciative that OSHA issued Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care and Social Workers in 2004, and am grateful that OSHA is considering an update of those guidelines, I do not believe, in light of these recent incidents, that these guidelines are adequate to protect my constituents who work in healthcare settings. As you are well aware, these guidelines do not give OSHA the ability to correct the actions of employers who do not follow them, nor are violations of these guidelines necessarily a violation of the General Duty Clause found in the Occupational Safety and Health Act. While the four criteria needed for your agency to cite employers for not providing a safe workplace exist in almost every health care setting in the country, I do not believe that the continued ad-hoc enforcement of workplace safety for healthcare workers through the General Duty Clause is a long-term solution to this problem.


For these reasons I am asking for you to develop a new workplace safety standard that will reduce the amount of assaults, deadly and otherwise, in healthcare settings. Doing so will lead to safer workplaces, happier employees and healthier communities.


I am thankful for OSHA’s work in promoting the health and safety of all Americans and I am eager to be a partner with you as you attempt to make healthcare workplaces safer in my state and throughout the country.




Christopher S. Murphy

United States Senator