Assaults on employees lead to OSHA fines for health care facility
The beating of a worker at a Wisconsin specialty hospital was only the tip of the iceberg, according to OSHA investigators, who discovered that staff members at the facility had been assaulted numerous times.
Lakeview Neurorehab Center Midwest, which operates as Lakeview Specialty Hospital in Waterford, now faces citations and fines for exposing employees to workplace violence.
In the September, 2011 incident, an employee was severely beaten and threatened by a client of the facility.
OSHA has cited the employer for a serious violation of the agency's "general duty clause" for failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause serious injury or death. A second serious violation has been cited due to the lack of a lockout/tagout program for equipment with multiple energy sources.
Additionally, OSHA has cited three other-than-serious violations involving record-keeping errors, which include a lack of entries for lost or restricted work days due to injury or illness on the OSHA 300 logs during 2011, failing to annually evaluate and inspect the energy control program, and failing to conduct annual reviews and updates of the bloodborne pathogen program. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm. Proposed fines total $12,000.
"These citations point to a clear and pressing need for employers operating similar facilities to develop comprehensive and effective programs that proactively address workplace violence situations imperiling the safety and health of their workers," said George Yoksas, OSHA's area director in Milwaukee. "Prevention, protection, communication and awareness training are critical to safeguarding these workers against the possibility of death or injury."
Lakeview Specialty Hospital, which employs about 325 workers, consists of a long-term acute care hospital, a community-based residential facility for adults, a residential care center for children and a special education school. It is affiliated with Lakeview NeuroRehabilitation Center in Effingham, N.H. The affiliated group employs about 1,000 workers and also operates Lakeview NeuroCare in Lewistown, Pa.
OSHA's "Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care & Social Service Workers" resource is available online at www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3148/osha3148.html. Additional information on workplace violence is available at www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/index.html.