US Labor Department's OSHA fines Lakeview Specialty Hospital for
inadequate workplace violence safeguards at Waterford, Wis., center
WATERFORD, Wis. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Lakeview Neurorehab Center Midwest, which operates as Lakeview Specialty Hospital in Waterford, for exposing employees to workplace violence at the health care facility and treatment center, among other violations. OSHA has proposed penalties of $12,000.
OSHA initiated an investigation following a complaint that a worker had been severely beaten and threatened by a client at the facility on Sept. 28, 2011, as well as filed a police report with the Racine County Sheriff's Department.
As a result of its investigation, which revealed that staff members at the facility had been assaulted numerous times, 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. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
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.
"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 http://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3148/osha3148.html. Additional information on workplace violence is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/index.html.
Lakeview Specialty Hospital has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet 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 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 Milwaukee Area Office at 414-297-3315.
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.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.