July 13, 2015
Employees injured by violent clients at Birmingham, Alabama, social services
Gateway failed to protect employees from workplace violence hazards
Employer name: Gateway
Inspection site: 1401 20th Street South, Birmingham, Alabama 35205
Date citations issued: The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to the employer on July 10, 2015. The inspection was initiated on January 13, 2015, after the agency received a complaint alleging workplace violence.
Inspection findings: OSHA issued the employer one general duty clause citation for failing to protect employees from the hazards of physical assault while providing care for adolescent children and teenagers known to exhibit violent behavior tendencies. Workers suffered injuries such as, bites, abrasions, contusions and stab wounds. OSHA recently announced that in future health care industry inspections, it would expand its enforcement resources to focus on workplace violence and other safety and health risks.
Quote: "During our investigation, it became clear that management was well aware that its employees were being injured by violent clients for several years, yet they took no action to protect their workers," said Ramona Morris, OSHA's director of the Birmingham Area Office. "It is unacceptable for an employer not to take action to protect its workers from known hazards."
Proposed penalties: $7,000
The citations can be viewed at: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/osha/OSHA20141362fs.pdf
Gateway is a social services organization that operates a therapeutic treatment center involved in counseling, education and other programs designed to help adolescents. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint or report amputations, losses of an eye, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers; the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Birmingham Area Office at 205- 731-1534.
Release Number: 15-1362-ATL (208)
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