A focus on workplace safety in hospitals should be akin to that seen in the construction and farming sectors.
That's according to Phil Ní Sheaghdha, general-secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
The group has called for increased security across all areas of hospital campuses.
It comes as figures reveal that more than five nurses a day were physically, verbally or sexually assaulted in the month of June.
Ms Ní Sheaghadh told The Hard Shoulder healthcare settings are often forgotten about.
"The number of assaults against healthcare workers is on the increase.
"And unfortunately 60% of all assaults are against nurses and midwives.
"This is of huge concern to us - obviously we've raised it with the employer, the HSE, the Department of Health and the Health and Safety Authority."
The INMO wrote to the HSA earlier this year, asking them to "put a focus on the type of workplaces that the health services have now become."
"We think that because it's a workplace that provides care, sometimes it's forgotten that the laws of the land apply to it in respect of protecting workers while they're at work."
'Simply not acceptable'
Ms Ní Sheaghadh says they will meet the HSA in August, and have one message.
"We will be saying to them, when we meet them, that what we actually want is... the same level of focus from that authority that has been brought to construction and our farms.
"Equally, they have examples unfortunately of very dangerous workplaces - but also fatal outcomes.
"We want the same protections for the health sector, it is a workplace.
"Workers who go to work there - nurses, midwives - they cannot have situations where their career ends as a result of an assault or a verbal attack.
"It's just simply not acceptable".
And she says penalties should also be considered against employers.
"We can't just keep examining and recording that these assaults are happening, inspections happening but nothing changing.
"So the piece we're really interested in, in order to protect our members, is to make sure... that protective notifications are put in place.
"But also that employers that do not protect their staff, that there is a penalty for them."