Western Pennsylvania Hospital Workers At-Risk for Assaults

July 17, 2013

Federal regulators want to fine a western Pennsylvania hospital $8,000 claiming workers there are at-risk to be assaulted by mental health patients.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing the fines against Armstrong County Memorial Hospital, near Kittanning. That’s about 40 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

OSHA officials aren’t detailing specific incidents or even when they occurred, but say the hospital failed to “implement programs and procedures to protect workers from injuries resulting from attacks by patients” among other alleged violations.

The hospital, which has 15 days to challenge the proposed fines, takes issue with OSHA’s claims.

The hospital say its behavioral health unit is not a forensic psychiatry unit which requires more stringent safety measures proposed by OSHA. Otherwise, the hospital says it already has many OSHA-suggested safeguards in place.

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