|June 16, 2019 | www.fisherphillips.com|
In a matter of first impression, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission recently ruled that the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s general duty clause requires employers to protect employees from incidents of workplace violence. In Sec’y of Labor v. Integra Health Management, Inc., the Commission affirmed a citation issued to a social services provider after one of its employees was fatally stabbed by a mentally ill client.
Healthcare employees are nearly five times more likely than workers in other fields to be victims of workplace violence, according to federal government statistics. Because of this disparity, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidelines in 2015 for preventing workplace violence in the healthcare and social services industries. Since that time, the agency has heightened its focus on this area and has issued an increased number of employer citations relating to incidents involving workplace violence.