The U.S. Department of Labor has reached a settlement agreement with The Renaissance Project Inc. that resolves litigation stemming from citations and penalties issued to the Ellenville, N.Y., substance abuse treatment facility by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The settlement affirms the citations and also commits the facility to taking steps to better safeguard its employees against workplace violence.
“Workplace violence is a serious, recognized occupational hazard, ranking among the top four causes of death in workplaces during the past 15 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York. “Violent incidents can be avoided or decreased if employers take appropriate precautions to protect their workers.”
In April, OSHA’s Albany Area Office cited The Renaissance Project for a serious violation of the agency’s “general duty clause” for failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause serious injury or death because the employer had not developed and implemented adequate safeguards against workplace violence for its employees. This followed an October 2010 incident in which an untrained security guard, working alone, was fatally stabbed by a client.
Under the settlement, in addition to correcting the conditions cited as a result of OSHA’s inspection, The Renaissance Project has agreed to institute a number of measures that OSHA believes will eliminate or materially reduce similar incidents of workplace violence from occurring in the future.
“The Renaissance Project pledges to enact effective safeguards to prevent and minimize the possibility of its employees being killed or injured in the performance of their duties,” said Edward Jerome, OSHA’s area director in Albany. “We fully expect this employer to follow through on this vital commitment.”
The additional steps agreed to by The Renaissance Project include:
Earlier this year, OSHA launched a new Web page on Preventing Workplace Violence, and has published several guidance documents including “Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Health Care and Social Service Workers” and “Recommendations for Workplace Violence Prevention Programs in Late-Night Retail Establishments.” The Web page is available at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/index.html.
As part of the settlement agreement, The Renaissance Project also has agreed to correct other conditions relating to hazard communication and bloodborne pathogens that were cited as a result of OSHA’s inspection, and to pay fines of $17,290 for all of the violations. The case was litigated for OSHA by Attorney Andrew Karonis of the department’s Office of the Regional Solicitor in New York.
Source: OSHA Regional News Release[fbcomments]