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OSHA Cites Florida Hospital for 182 Safety Violations

Jul 10, 2023 | Public | 0 comments

workplace violence

Employees at Wekiva Springs Hospital endured regular and often intense incidents of workplace violence.   July 11, 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed a problem in many facilities that had long gone underreported in many organizations – workplace violence. For employees of one Florida healthcare facility, the problem has allegedly reached crisis proportions.

An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has found that workers were assaulted, confined by patients and suffered broken bones and concussions and wounds from being scratched, bitten, punched and kicked at a Jacksonville behavioral health and substance disorder facility.

Employees at the UHS of Delaware Inc.-Wekiva Springs Center LLC – operating as Wekiva Springs Hospital – endured regular and often intense incidents of workplace violence: reports of 182 alleged incidents in 2022, nearly 70 percent of which required police response in a six-month period, and 10 alleged violent incidents in less than two months in late 2022.

OSHA’s investigators found the Wekiva Springs Center exposed workers to violence regularly as they interacted with patients in 2022. The agency learned that workers reported the following:

  • A patient threw a chair at a mental health associate and three nurses in an attempt to leave the facility.
  • A nurse on duty suffered a patient’s kick to their stomach.
  • A mental health associate had their head smashed into an air conditioning unit repeatedly and suffered a concussion at the hands of a patient who refused to be escorted to their room.

OSHA determined the facility also allowed behavioral mental health associates and nurses to be exposed to physical threats and assaults, such as being bitten, punched, kicked, scratched and spat upon by patients during routine interactions, daily activities and while providing care. Many of these alleged assaults led to sprains, contusions, lacerations, fractures and concussions.

OSHA issued Wekiva Springs Center, LLC a citation for a serious violation for its failure to provide a workplace free from recognized health and safety hazards which caused, or were likely to cause, serious physical harm or death. The agency has proposed $15,625 in penalties.

 

By Dan Hounsell, Senior Editor 

Dan Hounsell is senior editor of the facilities market. He has more than 30 years of experience writing about facilities maintenance, engineering and management. 

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