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California mental hospital cited after injury on the job hazards

Normally, an injury on the job brings to mind dangerous equipment or safety hazards that need to be addressed. However, one California hospital has been fined by OSHA after it allegedly failed to keep its staff safe by attacks from patients. Employees in this particular hospital may be more prone to suffering an injury on the job because they work with mental patients.

One of the most serious citations received has a fine of close to $30,000. OSHA says that in the period of about nine months last year, hospital employees were injured by patients about 10 times each month. Some of those injuries were severe, but the hospital failed to implement appropriate procedures to control the hazards.

The citation notes that several things could have been implemented to reduce the number of job injuries, including an improved alarm system, adequate shift staffing and having better access control to some areas within the hospital. The mental hospital also received a $450.00 fine for deleting injured employee’s names from documents OSHA required. This is not the first set of citations for California’s state mental hospitals. The dangers of a job injury in such a profession are very real. One incident at a local hospital involved a psychiatric technician who died after being strangled by a patient.

The citations have been appealed, but the hospital is working towards correcting the identified deficiencies. Any time a California employee suffers an injury on the job, they are likely entitled to receive workers’ compensation. These benefits can help with lost wages and medical bills incurred as a result of the injury. Many find the workers’ compensation system complex and confusing and may be pleased to learn there is help available to ensure that all benefits due are obtained in accordance with the law.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “State hospital fined for failing to keep staff safe from patients,” Lee Romney, Nov. 30, 2012