Small Fine, Many Incidents in Action Against Maine Hospital

OSHA issued seven citations to The Acadia Hospital in Bangor but said its inspection found at least 115 instances between 2008 and 2010 where employees of the psychiatric hospital and clinic were assaulted by patients.

OSHA has issued seven citations to The Acadia Hospital, a psychiatric hospital and clinic in Bangor, Maine, in connection with workplace violence and recordkeeping shortcomings, according to the agency.

OSHA said its inspection found at least 115 instances between 2008 and 2010 where employees of the facility were assaulted by patients. This brought one serious citation, with a proposed fine of $6,300, for an alleged violation of the general duty clause.

"The serious citation points to the clear and pressing need for the hospital to develop a comprehensive, continuous, and effective program that will proactively evaluate, identify, and prevent conditions that place workers in harm's way," said Marthe Kent, the agency's New England regional administrator.

The citation suggested several ways the hospital could abate the hazard:

  • Create a new violence policy for the entire hospital with a zero-tolerance statement, then develop controls and a recordkeeping system to report incidents, and assign prevention and oversight responsibilities.
  • Screen all patients for potential violence before they are admitted.
  • Conduct extensive training for employees.
  • Use a system that flags a patient's chart any time there is a history or act of violence and train staff to understand this system.
  • Ensure an adequate number of properly trained security guards are available to help if violence occurs.
  • Limit employees from working alone or in secluded place with patients, and configure the workplace to maximize employees' ability to escape if violence occurs.
  • Implement specific actions employees should take and specific reporting procedures for them, both to hospital management and to law enforcement.

Six other-than-serious violations also were assessed, with $5,400 in fines, for allegedly failing to record injuries and illnesses properly.

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