Judge Affirms OSHA Findings in Death of Health Care Coordinator Killed by Mentally Ill Client

OSHA investigators concluded Integra Health Management failed to protect its employee from workplace violence hazards.

OSHA announced that an administrative law judge has affirmed its findings that an employer failed to protect a 24-year-old health care worker from workplace violence. She was murdered in 2012.

Judge Dennis Phillips of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission determined that Integra Health Management, now operating as Integra ServiceConnect LLC, did not protect Stephanie Ross. Ross, a social service coordinator, had a client with severe mental illness and a violent criminal history. The man fatally stabbed Ross outside his home in December 2012. She had recorded in her case notes that she was uncomfortable being alone with him, according to OSHA.

"The safety of social service workers in the field is a serious concern. Many face threats and violence in the workplace. Integra put its workers at risk of injury or worse by choosing not to implement commonly recognized safety practices and protocols," said Leslie Grove, OSHA's Tampa Area Office director. "Employers must take every reasonable precaution to protect employees against safety and health hazards in the workplace, including physical assaults."

OSHA concluded the company did not conduct a hazard assessment of the service coordinator position or develop a written program to prevent workplace violence hazards. The Owings Mills, Md.-based company received two serious citations in March 2013 with penalties of $10,500.

According to OSHA, Integra contracts with insurance companies to perform mental and physical health assessments and coordinates case management for high-risk, high-cost members. It operates in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Florida.

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