On Monday, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, announced the release of their follow-up investigation into a Massachusetts behavioral health facility. The facility now faces $207,690 in proposed penalties. On June the 29th of 2017, OSHA issued UHS of Westwood Pembroke Inc, which was doing business as Lowell Treatment Center, a notification for failure to abate violation regarding workplace violence.
The recent notification comes after a similar violation was discovered by federal safety and health inspectors on May 19, 2015. Due to the 2015 inspection, UHS of Westwood Pembroke agreed to implement a workplace violence prevention program. On January 5, 2017, OSHA opened a follow-up inspection of the firm. This came after Lowell Treatment Center failed to provide adequate documentation that it had implemented such a program.
Simultaneously, the agency’s Andover Area Office had received a complaint about employees being placed at risk. OSHA discovered that the agency had failed to comply with certain terms of the previous agreement. Despite previous citations and employee injuries, the risks linked to fatal injury and serious harm still exist.
This resulted in OSHA citing the company with a single repeat violation, as well as three other-than-serious violations associated with recordkeeping. OSHA’s regional administrator in Boston, Galen Blanton, made a statement about the investigation.
“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.”
According to OSHA’s complaint, employees at the center, which is located at 391 Varnum Avenue in Lowell, Massachusetts, were exposed to acts of violence, including verbal threats, physical assaults, choking, bites, punches, kicks, and hair pulling. On January 30, 2017, an employee was forced to miss a day of work after being kneed in the stomach by an aggressive patient. The assault resulted in the employee’s abdomen being bruised.
On April 24, 2017, a Nursing Supervisor was attacked in the Adolescent Unit. This resulted in a concussion and the employee missing at least fifteen days of work. Other documented cases resulted in various injuries, including bruising to the face, hands, arms, back, and shoulders. In one case, an employee’s glasses were broken and the employee suffered from a black eye.
UHS of Westwood Pembroke is one of the largest health-care management companies in the nation. Through the company’s subsidiaries, its operates 350 facilities throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Lowell Treatment Center is a 41-bed satellite facility that has around 130 workers. The facility is a psychiatric hospital that provides inpatient hospitalization and partial hospitalization to adolescents and adults.