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Violence is Now a Leading Cause of Workplace Injuries for Health Care Employees in Massachusetts and Nationwide

AMBULANCE-STRETCHER 2 morguefile DodgertonSkillhauseAlthough most people do not expect to become the victim of workplace violence, employees who are engaged in certain occupations unfortunately face violent behavior every day in Massachusetts and elsewhere. For example, the nation’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) recently cited an East Coast medical facility after nurses and other health care workers were violently attacked by patients eight times during a period of three months.

Health care workers at the facility told OSHA they were punched, kicked, and bitten by patients. In one attack, a nurse purportedly suffered cuts and bruises while trying to defuse an attack by a facility patient. Other health care workers reported that patients locked them in a room, verbally threatened them, and exposed the employees to known pathogens contained in blood and other bodily fluids.

Following an inspection of the medical facility, OSHA issued a proposed penalty of over $13,000 for one repeat violation related to the medical center’s improper recording of workplace injuries on the required OSHA form. In general, a repeat violation occurs when an employer is cited for violating the same or a substantially similar health and safety regulation more than once within a five-year period. In addition, OSHA cited the medical facility for one violation of the employer’s general duty to maintain a workplace that is reasonably free of dangerous hazards.

According to the agency, the medical center failed to implement appropriate safety measures designed to protect each employee’s health and safety. An OSHA official stated the number of violent attacks experienced by health care workers at the medical center demonstrated that the facility’s workplace violence program was inadequate and not effective. The official added that the program should be improved as soon as possible.

Sadly, assault, battery, and other violent attacks are currently one of the leading causes of workplace injuries for health care employees. Due to an increasing number of reports of workplace violence in hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities, OSHA recently expanded its enforcement efforts in the health care field. As part of this campaign, the agency issued its “Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health and Social Service Workers.”

If you were injured at work in Boston, you are advised to contact a veteran Suffolk County workplace accident attorney who can help you protect your right to receive disability and other benefits. The dedicated lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. are here to help you recover the compensation you deserve, based on the severity of your workplace accident harm. To discuss your rights with a knowledgeable advocate, contact Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. through our website or call us today at 800-367-0871.

Additional Resources:

OSHA cites Bergen Regional Medical Center after 8 employees assaulted or threatened by patients since February Worker’s complaint prompts OSHA investigation, OSHA Regional News Release dated September 3, 2015

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Massachusetts Correctional Officer Denied Closed Period Workers’ Compensation Benefits Where Work Stress Was Not a Major Cause of Medical Symptoms, May 21, 2015, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blawg

Brockton-Based Roofer Issued $72,800 in Proposed Fines Over Employee Fall Hazards, May 17, 2015, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blawg

Photo Credit: DodgertonSkillhause, MorgueFile