Martha Marx


Martha Marx



March 20, 2024
As health care workers 5x more likely to experience workplace violence, legislation would provide patient safety assessments, worker safety training
Today, the Public Health Committee passed legislation that aims to protect and support the safety of health care workers in the midst of increasing violence against them in that profession. The bill, Senate Bill 1, one of Senate Democrats’ foremost priorities this year, now heads to the Senate floor. It was inspired by and introduced in dedication to the deaths of two health care workers in late 2023 and early 2024.

The bill passed by a 25-12 vote and will next head to the Senate floor.

Senate Bill 1, “An Act Concerning The Health And Safety Of Connecticut Residents,” seeks to provide workers with improved tools and resources to aid their safety and security on the job. These include, but are not limited to, providing workers with risk assessments for patients with potential histories of violence or criminal histories, as well as the safety of their homes for care workers who travel to patient residences; comprehensive training regarding worker safety, including training on how to handle dangerous situations and how to seek help quickly; and provision of home health workers with technology and mechanisms for safety checks and location data. The bill also offers health and wellness checks to workers, Medicare payment support if escorts are requested or needed, and would create a task force to give recommendations on these changes.

The legislation comes after two visiting nurses died in late 2023 and early 2024. In October 2023, nurse Joyce Grayson was killed upon visiting a patient for an appointment in a Willimantic halfway home; in January 2024, Otolegile Morulane, a live-in caregiver, and his patient died in an East Lyme house fire.

The Senate Chair and Vice Chair of the Public Health Committee, Senators Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor) and Martha Marx (D-New London), who are both health care workers, have called for this legislation based partially on their own personal experiences.

“Health care workers often make sacrifices to protect and preserve the safety of their patients,” said Sen. Anwar. “Those sacrifices should not include their personal safety or their lives, and that’s what this bill seeks to ensure. New training and increased transparency and access to information offers newfound ability for workers’ protection, giving them peace of mind and letting them focus on their jobs. I look forward to bringing this bill out on the Senate floor.”

“This is the Senate’s foremost priority bill because our caucus recognizes the importance of home health care workers’ safety,” said Sen. Marx. “Every worker deserves to feel safe at work, but home care workers do not feel safe. The murder of Joyce Grayson and death of Otoliegile Morulane in a house fire where he was working are tragic because they represent the safety issues home care workers have raised for years. This bill will improve reporting of both verbal and physical violence, improve intake information giving workers the safety they need, including escorts, and provide technology that can alert authorities that they need help. Home care workers go to work to care and earn a living and they deserve to go home safe without abuse. It is their employers’ responsibility to keep them safe. The time is now for this bill to give them that safety and the recognition they deserve.”

In addition to these protections, the bill contains a number of advances benefitting public health, including action to fight future cybersecurity events against Connecticut health care operations, expanded insurance coverage for certain procedures such as preventative heart scans, and development of working groups studying issues such as health hazards in nail salons and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Contact: Joe O’Leary | 508-479-4969 |