OSHA Fines UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital $14,500 Over Workplace Violence

OSHA found that UF Health employees suffered bites, concussions, and broken bones caused by altercations with patients.

Gainesville, Florida – The U.S. Department of Labor has fined the University of Florida Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital for failing to protect its employees  from workplace violence after a series of incidents that left employees with serious injuries. The facility is a psychiatric and substance abuse hospital.

An investigation by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at Shands Teaching Hospital and Clinics Inc. – operating as UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital – found employees were exposed to serious injuries such as bone fractures and concussions caused by altercations with patients, according to a press release from the department.

OSHA cited the hospital for a serious violation for failing to provide a place of employment free from recognized health and safety hazards which caused or was likely to cause serious physical harm or death. The agency proposed a $14,502 penalty.

“As incidents occur or a pattern of violent behavior is established, employers need to be vigilant about their controls and policies to address physical threats,” said OSHA Area Office Director Scott Tisdale in Jacksonville, Florida. “The safety protocols that Shands agreed to implement can greatly reduce incidents of workplace violence and improve working conditions for their employees.”

Shands Teaching Hospital agreed to:

  • Implement mandatory workplace violence training for all employees with direct interactions with patients with a known history of violence.
  • Provide unit employees with information about patients’ recent history and their potential for violence during admission, before all shift changes and in post-incident debriefings to increase staff awareness.
  • Ensure their workplace violence program includes employee input and participation to assess hazards, controls, prevention strategies, employee education, and incident reporting and investigation.
  • Provide employees with personal panic alarms to summon urgent and reliable assistance. Shands will also provide training on the equipment’s use, and will inspect, test and maintain it to make sure the equipment always works.
  • Review physical environments in all of the facility’s wings to make sure plexiglass barriers and windows protect workers and make needed improvements. The hospital will also remove items that could be used as a weapon or to obstruct views of the wing, or to access the nurses’ station.

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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