Agency, SalusCare Inc. settlement includes major changes in safety programs

FORT MYERS, FL  The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration has reached a settlement with a Fort Myers behavioral healthcare and residential treatment facility to prevent future employee injuries after a series of violent incidents in the spring and fall of 2020.

SalusCare Inc. has accepted an OSHA finding that it exposed behavior health technicians to attacks on five occasions in 2020 when workers were spit on, kicked in the ribs and suffered sprains, cuts, fractures and a concussion. OSHA issued the center a serious citation for failing to adequately protect workers from patient-on-staff violence and an other-than serious citation for failing to report a worker hospitalization within 24 hours. SalusCare agreed to pay $6,747 for these citations.

As part of the settlement, the company will hire a qualified consultant to improve its workplace violence prevention program, develop a way to alert workers to violent patients and triggers that may lead to violence, revise its safety protocols, increase staffing, provide worker training and improve communication about safety.

“SalusCare agreeing to accept the citation and implement extensive changes are integral steps to protecting their employees,” said OSHA Area Director Danelle Jindra in Tampa, Florida. “This case should serve as a reminder for all employers to review their workplace violence prevention programs to ensure the safety of their workers.”

SalusCare is a nonprofit mental health and substance abuse service provider that has seven locations throughout Southwest Florida. The company employs more than 400 people who treat nearly 16,000 people.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s workers. Learn more about tools for Preventing Workplace Violence in Healthcare and Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Services Workers.

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