Worker Beaten by Patient at Health Center, OSHA Issues $12K Fine

As a result of an 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.

OSHA has cited Lakeview Neurorehab Center Midwest, which operates as Lakeview Specialty Hospital in Waterford, Wis., 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. In addition, the worker 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.

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.

"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.

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