Ohio Residential Care Facility Fined for Inadequate Workplace Violence Safeguards
Fairfield, Oh (WorkersCompensation.com) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited ResCare Ohio Inc. for exposing employees to workplace violence at the company's Fairfield residential care facility, which operates as Camelot Lake. OSHA has proposed penalties of $8,700.
"These citations reflect a clear and pressing need for employers operating residential care facilities to develop comprehensive and effective programs that proactively address workplace violence situations," said Bill Wilkerson, OSHA's area director in Cincinnati. "Prevention, protection, communication and awareness training are critical to safeguarding caregivers against possible injury in the workplace."
An investigation was initiated March 26 under OSHA's Site-Specific Targeting Program and a national emphasis program targeting nursing home facilities with a days away, restricted, transfer, or "DART," rate of 10 or higher per 100 full-time workers. Camelot Lake accumulated a total of 20 workplace violence cases from 2009-2012, resulting in 53 days away from work and 37 days of restricted duty. Employees have been exposed to physical assaults during routine interaction with residents who have a history of violent behavior.
A serious violation of OSHA's "general duty clause" involves failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause serious injury or death. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Three other-than-serious violations involve failing to post a summary for lost or restricted work days due to injury or illness on the OSHA 300 logs during 2011, provide OSHA injury and illness logs upon request for 2009 and 2010, and conduct annual reviews and updates of the company's bloodborne pathogen program. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
OSHA established the National Emphasis Program for Nursing and Residential Care Facilities to provide guidance to agency compliance staff on policies and procedures for targeting and conducting inspections focused on the hazards associated with nursing and residential care. In 2010, according to the department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing and residential care facilities experienced one of the highest rates of lost workdays due to injuries and illnesses of all major American industries.
OSHA's "Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care & Social Service Workers" resource is available online at http://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3148/osha3148.html. Additional information on workplace violence is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/index.html. Information for employers and employees in nursing homes and residential care facilities, including guidance on ergonomics and workplace violence, is also available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/nursinghome/index.html.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was OSHA's fourth of the facility. None of the previous inspections resulted in citations for workplace violence.
ResCare Ohio employs more than 270 workers, including 50 at the Camelot Lake facility who provide daily care for up to 36 clients. ResCare is a human service company that provides residential, therapeutic, job training and educational support to people with developmental and other disabilities, seniors who need in-home assistance and youth with special needs. Based in Louisville, Ky., ResCare and its nearly 45,000 employees serve some 57,000 people daily in 42 states, Washington, D.C., Canada and Puerto Rico.