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January 16, 2013
Expert finds clinic employees still at risk

A consultant says employees at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh are still not adequately protected from violence. OSHA hired an expert to report on workplace violence at the facility, which is part of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

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Last year a mentally ill man who was not a patient there killed an employee and wounded five others before he was killed by police. OSHA did not issue citations in the case.

The expert, a University of Maryland School of Nursing professor, concluded that the facility is not emphasizing employee protection because leaders are focused on patient safety. Among recommendations was that Western Psychiatric establish goals, policies, and procedures that address staff safety and wellness in addition to patient safety and quality of care.

The institute should also establish a joint labor/management health and safety committee to focus on violence prevention.

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