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A Massachusetts behavioral health facility faces $207,690 in proposed penalties from federal safety and health regulators who determined that the facility’s employees remain vulnerable to workplace violence risks.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued Pembroke, Massachusetts-based UHS of Westwood Pembroke Inc., doing business as Lowell Treatment Center, a notification for failure to abate a violation involving workplace violence after previously finding a serious violation related to the same hazards in May 2015, according to an agency press release issued on Friday.
The employer and OSHA entered a formal settlement agreement in April 2016, which outlined specific provisions of a workplace violence prevention program, following the 2015 inspection. But a January 2017 inspection was launched after the Lowell Treatment Center failed to provide documentation to show it had implemented a workplace violence program and the agency's Andover area office received a complaint alleging employees remained at risk, according to OSHA.
The agency determined that the center had failed to comply with multiple terms of its agreement and that the risks for workers to suffer fatal injury or serious harm still existed. OSHA also cited the company for one repeat violation and three other-than-serious violations related to record keeping.
"Our inspectors found that employees throughout the Lowell Treatment Center continued to be exposed to incidents of workplace violence that could have been greatly reduced had the employer fully implemented the settlement agreement," Galen Blanton, OSHA's regional administrator in Boston, said in the statement.
UHS of Westwood Pembroke has notified OSHA of its intent to contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, according to OSHA.
A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.
The murder of Napa State Hospital psychiatric technician Donna Gross at the hands of a patient in October 2010 highlighted the danger health care workers routinely face in their jobs and has culminated in California adopting the first workplace violence prevention standard for health care workers in the United States.