My State:
May 30, 2023
OSHA cites workplace violence at Columbus children’s hospital

The Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion at Nationwide Children’s Hospital of Columbus, Ohio, faces $18,080 in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines for workplace violence hazards, the agency announced May 25.

The hospital failed to protect employees, including nurses and mental health professionals, from patients whose bites, kicks, punches, and other assaults caused serious injuries, according to OSHA. The agency cited the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion with one serious violation and one other-than-serious violation.

The agency cites employers for workplace violence incidents under the General Duty Clause (§5(a)(1)) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act because there’s no federal standard for workplace violence prevention. OSHA has a rulemaking to establish a standard for health care and social assistance.

OSHA inspectors determined that Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion didn’t protect employees from violent incidents involving the hospital’s patients, such as concussions, contusions, lacerations, and sprains suffered by nurses and mental health staff. The facility also failed to keep proper records of employee injuries, as required, which resulted in the other-than-serious violation.

“Behavioral healthcare workers can be exposed to risks when treating patients who suffer with conditions that can lead to violent outbursts,” Larry Johnson, OSHA’s Columbus area director, said in an agency statement. “Unfortunately, Nationwide Children’s Hospital failed to take the necessary precautions that could have prevented their employees from being injured.”

The Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion provides acute behavioral health services, with intensive outpatient programs, according to OSHA. Nationwide Children’s Hospital is the second-largest pediatric hospital in the United States, accepting more than 1.5 million patient visits each year at 68 facilities across the state and around the world.

Earlier this month, OSHA cited workplace violence violations at the Texas Children’s Hospital of Houston after an aggressive patient pulled a security officer to the ground by the hair and kicked the officer repeatedly in the chest and abdomen. The agency noted 15 recordable incidents of workplace violence when a patient showed signs of aggression and assaulted an employee at Texas Children’s Hospital in 2022.

Nurses, assistants, security officers, and other staff at Texas Children’s Hospital had been exposed to physical threats and assaults, such as being bitten, punched, kicked, scratched, and spit on by behavioral health patients exhibiting signs of aggression in the hospital’s pediatric acute care unit.

Last month, an administrative law judge (ALJ) with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission upheld OSHA’s citation of a hospital chain for exposing employees to workplace violence without adequate protections at a hospital in Attleboro, Massachusetts. Over 500 incidents of aggression occurred at the hospital over a 7-month period, according to OSHA.

In 1996, OSHA issued voluntary prevention guidelines for health care and social assistance. The agency’s rulemaking to establish a federal workplace violence prevention standard for health care and social assistance is one of six economically significant regulatory actions at the agency.

The rulemaking currently is in the prerule stage. On December 7, 2016, OSHA published a request for information (81 Fed. Reg. 88147) on the history of workplace violence prevention in health care and social assistance. Last year, the agency announced plans to begin a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) review of the rulemaking.

Copyright © 2023 Business & Legal Resources. All rights reserved. 800-727-5257
This document was published on
Document URL: