US Labor Department's OSHA cites Idaho group home and adult day care
operator for inadequate workplace violence safeguards at Pocatello facility
BOISE, Idaho – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited South Park Inc., operating as Developmental Options in Pocatello, with one serious violation for failing to provide employees with adequate safeguards against workplace violence. OSHA opened an inspection of the group home and adult day care center in January following reports of increasing severity of attacks against workers. The citation carries a proposed penalty of $4,900.
OSHA cited the employer for exposing employees to repeated instances of violent behavior, aggressive physical contact and attacks by a patient in the residential habilitation program. OSHA also determined that the company failed to identify and abate existing and developing hazards associated with workplace violence. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
"Employers in group homes and residential settings must protect their employees against workplace violence," said David G. Kearns, director of OSHA's Boise Area Office, which conducted the inspection. "No worker should have to go to work fearful of being assaulted on the job."
South Park provides round-the-clock care for people with developmental disabilities. The company employs approximately 75 full-time workers and operates multiple residential rehabilitation apartments and homes in Pocatello and Shelley. The employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citation and proposed penalty to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
"Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care & Social Service Workers" is available on OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3148/osha3148.html. Additional information on workplace violence is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/index.html.
To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Boise office at 208-321-2960.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.