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Region 3 News Release: 13-1319-PHI (osha 13-65)
July 15, 2013
Contact: Leni Fortson     Joanna Hawkins
Phone: 215-861-5102     215-861-5101
Email: uddyback-fortson.lenore@dol.gov     hawkins.joanna@dol.gov

Kittanning, Pa., hospital fined by the US Labor Department's OSHA for
failing to protect workers from patient assaults

KITTANNING, Pa. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Armstrong Center for Medicine & Health Inc., doing business as Armstrong County Memorial Hospital in Kittanning, with two violations following a complaint alleging that workers were suffering injuries from patient assaults in the hospital's behavioral health unit.

"Workplace violence can strike anywhere, anytime, and no one is immune," said Christopher Robinson, director of OSHA's Pittsburgh Area Office. "Health care professionals are at high risk of facing this type of hazard, so it's vital that health care employers take the precautions necessary to ensure that workers are protected."

One serious violation was cited for hazards associated with the employer's failure to implement programs and procedures to protect workers from injuries resulting from assaults by patients. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result, and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

The hospital was also cited for one other-than-serious violation, which carries a $1,000 penalty, for failing to record a work-related injury on the OSHA 300 Log. 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.

Detailed information on workplace violence can be found at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/index.html.

The citations for the serious and other-than-serious violations carry $8,000 in proposed penalties. The hospital has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director in Pittsburgh, or contest the citations and proposed penalties 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 Pittsburgh Area Office at 412-395-4903.

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 252-693-7828 or TTY 252-693-7755.


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