Hospital Faces Over $200,000 in OSHA Penalties for Workers Exposed to Workplace Violence

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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

A behavioral health facility in Massachusetts faces $207,690 in proposed penalties from the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for alleged violations found while conducting a follow-up inspection for workplace violence prevention, according to a news release from OSHA.

On June 29, 2017, OSHA issued UHS of Westwood Pembroke, Inc. – doing business as Lowell Treatment Center – a Notification of Failure to Abate Alleged Violations involving workplace violence prevention, which followed a serious violation related to the same hazards that federal safety and health inspectors found on May 19, 2015.

As a result of the 2015 inspection, the employer and OSHA entered into a Formal Settlement Agreement on April 12, 2016, which outlined provisions of a workplace violence prevention program. OSHA guidelines for preventing workplace violence in the health-care industry is at www.osha.gov/dsg/hospitals/workplace_violence.html.

OSHA opened a follow-up inspection on January 5, 2017, after Lowell Treatment Center failed to provide documentation to show that it had implemented a workplace violence program. The complete news release from OSHA about the workplace violence settlement is available at www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/osha/osha20170814.

“Our inspectors found that employees throughout the Lowell Treatment Center continued to be exposed to incidents of workplace violence that could have been greatly reduced had the employer fully implemented the settlement agreement,” Galen Blanton, OSHA’s regional administrator in Boston, stated in the news release.

OSHA defines workplace violence as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site” ranging from verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide. OSHA estimates nearly 2 million American workers are victims of workplace violence each year.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT WORKPLACE VIOLENCE FROM ESR

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