In February 2013 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts enacted legislation that creates guidelines to promote social work safety in the workplace. Massachusetts field educators and field directors played a key role on the statewide task force convened by NASW MA that worked on the legislation.

As a result of a violent death of a social worker on a home visit in 2008, the state-wide Safety Task Force came together to determine the best strategies for making the social work profession as safe as possible. As stakeholders, field educators and field directors from Massachusetts’s schools of social work took a central role on the task force. Bill Fisher, Director of Field Education at Springfield College and taskforce member stated,

“This landmark legislation has a direct and important influence on social work education by now requiring agencies to have in place safety plans and training for staff. Student interns in those agencies will now be able to develop safety skills in the real world. Social work education administrators and field educators from Boston University, Simmons College, and Springfield College were among the Safety Task Force members who worked early on in the process of planning for and developing the safety legislation in Massachusetts.”

The law requires all programs providing direct services in Massachusetts to have a workplace violence prevention program and crisis response plan. Plans must be updated annually and be available to all employees.