The federal government would increase its role in protecting health-care and social service workers from violent assaults under legislation approved by a House committee June 11.

Lawmakers on the Education and Labor Committee approved the bill (H.R. 1309) on a 26-18 vote, sending it to the full House for consideration.

The legislation would require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an interim final standard one year after enactment, and a final standard within 42 months of enactment. Lawmakers say the agency needs to take action to stem growing risks to these workers.

Lawmakers also approved changes...