Medical Center in Virginia Cited for Failing to Provide Employees with Safe Workplace

Medical Center in Arizona Cited for Failing to Provide Employees with Safe Workplace

Bob Stump VA Medical Center faced similar violations during a 2019 OSHA investigation.

For the second time in four years, federal investigators have found that the Northern Arizona VA Healthcare System's Bob Stump VA Medical Center in Prescott failed to protect its healthcare workers from violent patients. OSHA regulations mandate that employers provide a safe workplace free from hazards that could cause serious harm or death.

According to a recent release, OSHA began an investigation in December 2023 into claims that the facility exposed nurses, nursing assistants and housekeeping staff to serious patient violence, including kicking, biting, striking, punching, slapping and sexual harassment. This follows similar findings from a 2019 investigation.

Under Executive Order 12196, federal agencies must adhere to the same safety and health standards as private sector employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. While federal agencies are generally exempt from OSHA penalties, they must address and correct hazardous conditions identified by the agency. If the facility were a private sector employer, it could face penalties of up to $161,323.

“Healthcare industry workers encounter workplace violence up to four times more often than people employed in private industry,” OSHA Area Director Zachary Barnett in Phoenix said in a statement. “The failure of the Bob Stump VA Medical Center to prevent the same dangers that existed in 2019 is troubling. The facility’s management must take immediate action to better protect its employees from workplace violence before someone is seriously hurt or even killed in an incident that they could have prevented.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospital workers experience non-fatal workplace assaults at a rate of 8.3 per 10,000 workers, compared to 2.0 per 10,000 workers in the private sector.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor of Occupational Health & Safety.

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