Employee Safety Neglected Prior to Clinic Shooting, Consultant Reports

The March 2012 shooting at a Pittsburgh psychiatric clinic killed two, including the shooter. A consultant hired by OSHA concluded patient safety was more a focus at the clinic than employee safety.

After a gunman shot six people at a Pittsburgh psychiatric clinic last year, an OSHA-hired consultant found that workplace violence protection for employees was lacking. Hired by OSHA to investigate the incident, the consultant, University of Maryland Nursing School Professor Jane Lipscomb, found that while patient safety was a focus of the clinic, employee safety was not.

The shooting incident at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, part of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, resulted in the death of one employee and wounded five others. The gunman, John Shick, was killed by University of Pittsburgh campus police.

Lipscomb was paid nearly $31,000 by OSHA to evaluate workplace violence at the facility. "WPIC's workplace violence prevention efforts are completely overshadowed by patient safety considerations," Lipscomb said in her report dated Aug. 31, 2012, according to a Pittsburgh newspaper's account.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center officials noted OSHA did not cite the clinic following the shooting and said the hospital works to "protect the rights and safety of everyone in our facilities, including patients, staff and visitors." However, OSHA did issue a letter to the hospital suggesting safety upgrades to prevent incidents such as the shooting from happening again. Hospital officials said $10 million worth of upgrades are being made to the facility.

Shick was neither a patient at the hospital nor being treated by any of the doctors there. Investigators said he was upset with doctors at another UPMC facility.

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