Pay attention or pay up if OSHA tells you to address workplace violence at your place of business.
Failure to take adequate corrective action is resulting in $207,960 in fines and penalties for Universal Health Services, operator of Lowell Treatment Center, a behavioral health facility in Massachusetts.
“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,” said Galen Blanton, OSHA’s regional administrator in Boston, in an official news release from the Department of Labor.
The case originated in 2015 following worker complaints that they were being physicially and verbally assaulted by patients and not receiving adequate workplace protections. The company entered into a formal settlement agreement which stipulated a variety of protective measures including safety equipment, procedures, training and record-keeping.
The Labor Department said OSHA opened a follow-up inspection on Jan. 5, 2017, after it said Lowell Treatment Center failed to provide documentation it had implemented a workplace violence program, and the agency’s Andover Area Office received a complaint alleging employees remained at risk.
The inspection resulted in a Notification of Failure to Abate Alleged Violations with an additional $197,930 in penalties.
UHS of Westwood Pembroke, Inc. has notified OSHA of its intent to contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Workplace violence up to and including homicide is a leading cause of injury, with an esimtated 2 million cases per year. As defined by OSHA, workplace violence includes "any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior."
Workplace violence prevention is a key part of a company's safety and compliance program. Recent Avant Resources trainings have addressed active shooter preparedness, workplace violence. A workplace violence symposium is scheduled for March 2018.
Workplace Violence Training Video (13 minutes)
Active Shooter Preparedness (90 minutes)