A young caseworker was stabbed to death with a butcher knife last December by a patient she was meeting with for a required face-to-face hospitalization risk assessment.
The vicious attack on 25-year-old Stefanie Ross by Lucious Smith – which occurred in front of Smith’s house and was witnessed by neighbors – could have been prevented, according to OSHA.
Ross was meeting with the 53-year-old Smith for a required face-to-face hospitalization risk assessment to make sure he was taking his medications, and that his paperwork for treatment was in order. She was overcome by Smith in his home and stabbed. She fled outside and was stabbed multiple times.
$10,500 in fines
Ross’ employer, Integra Health Management of Owings Mills, Md., has been issued two violations totaling $10,500 in penalties in connection with Ross’ death. The citation was for exposing employees to incidents of violent behavior by a patient that resulted in death.
The citations stem from the fact that Smith has a criminal history of violent behavior that includes convictions for aggravated assault – and that prior to the attack, Ross had raised concerns about him.
"This incident could have been prevented if the employer had a comprehensive, written, workplace violence prevention program to address hazards and assist employees when they raise concerns about their safety," said Teresa Harrison, OSHA's acting regional administrator for the Southeast.
Smith won't stand trial
New sources report that Smith, who was charged with first-degree murder in the attack, has been ruled incompetent to stand trial and will be treated in a state mental hospital. He could stand trial at a later date should his competency be restored.
Integra Health Management has its corporate office in Owings Mills, with service coordinator operations in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida. The company conducts mental and physical health assessments and coordinates health care for members through community service coordinators. Service coordinators work from their homes or in the field.
Information on workplace violence is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/index.html.