Judge Affirms $10K OSHA Citation for Workplace Violence
An administrative law judge in Denver has affirmed the findings of a U.S. Department of Labor workplace safety investigation that determined a Louisville acute inpatient psychiatric treatment facility exposed direct care employees – such as nurses and mental health technicians – to aggressive patients who regularly assaulted and seriously injured them.
Following an inspection related to a December 2018 complaint of workplace violence, OSHA cited UHS of Centennial Peaks LLC – which operates as Centennial Peaks Hospital – for exposing employees to workplace violence hazards. The 104-bed behavioral health hospital, which provides acute inpatient hospitalization, medical detoxification and intensive outpatient programs for adolescents and adults, contested the May 2019 citations to the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The action led to a two-week trial in September 2021.
On July 14, 2022, an administrative law judge affirmed OSHA’s citation and found that OSHA’s proposed abatement measures were feasible and would materially reduce the workplace violence hazard. The abatement measures included the following:
Implementing a comprehensive workplace violence prevention program.
Training employees on the workplace violence prevention plan.
Providing employees with reliable communication devices, such as radios and/or personal panic alarms.
Reconfiguring the nurses’ stations to prevent patients from entering easily and assaulting staff within.
Ensuring that units are staffed adequately to handle aggressive and escalating patients more safely.
Conducting post-incident debriefings and investigations to improve future responses to situations involving aggressive patients.
The judge also affirmed OSHA’s $10,229 penalty.