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Boston Behavioral Health Facility Cited Over $200K in Fines by OSHA for Exposing Employees to Workplace Dangers and Harm

All employees are entitled to a workplace free from hazards and dangers.  When workers in the Boston area suffer injuries, they are entitled to file a Boston workers’ compensation claim according to Massachusetts law.  Workers’ compensation provides employees with medical care, partial wage replacement, and benefits for injuries or medical conditions suffered in the course and scope of their employment.  Additionally, federal and state laws ensure that employers provide a safe workplace that meets safety regulations and standards.OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has recently issued a press release detailing the results of an investigation that determined Boston, Massachusetts behavioral health facility employees had been exposed to serious workplace hazards. The health facility faces $207,690 in proposed penalties from the U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA for the violations, which were exposed during follow-up inspections.

In June 2017, OSHA had issued the facility a notification based on their failure to stop exposing employees to workplace violence.  This included physical as well as verbal assaults, kicks, bites, scratches, and hair pulling.  The notification made clear that the employer’s workplace violence prevention program had not adequately addressed the hazards posed by the patients’ verbal and physical assaults.  Specifically, employees were kicked in the stomach by patients, scratched, and punched, and in one case, a Nursing Supervisor suffered a concussion that resulted in her losing 15 days of work.

In fact, OSHA noted that the notification followed an earlier serious violation, relating to similar hazards that federal safety and health inspectors found two years before.  After that inspection, the employer and OSHA entered a Formal Settlement Agreement, and the employer had outlined provisions of a workplace violence prevention program.

After the facility failed to give documentation that it had set forth a workplace violence prevention program, OSHA opened another inspection.  The OSHA office received a complaint that made clear that employees were still at risk of harm.  Despite having an agreement in place, OSHA determined that the facility had not met the terms of the agreement and that, despite previous citations, there remained high risks for workers to suffer fatal injuries or serious harm. Additionally, the facility received a citation for a repeated violation and three other violations (concerning record-keeping).

The OSHA regional administrator in Boston was quoted as stating that employees at the facility remained exposed to workplace violence that would have been reduced if the employer had implemented the settlement agreement.  The facility has about 130 workers, and it is a 41-bed facility that provides inpatient hospitalization, as well as partial hospitalization.

After suffering injuries at work, you or someone close to you has legal rights.  Throughout Boston and the surrounding areas, workers pursuing benefits for their injuries can rely on the Law Offices of Attorney Michael O. Smith.  Our experience and dedication to workers has helped us recover benefits, lost wages from work, and medical costs for workers in Boston.  To schedule a free consultation with a skilled job injury lawyer, call our office at (617) 263-0060.

More Blog Posts:

OSHA Cites Boston, Massachusetts Seafood Wholesaler for 20 Serious Violations After Employee Suffered Fatality from Ammonia Leak, Boston Workers’ Compensation Attorney Blog, December 8, 2016

Employer Pier 1 Imports fined $86,000.00 by OSHA for multiple safety hazards, Boston Workers’ Compensation Attorney Blog, October 27, 2015

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