Unfortunately, workplace violence is in the news every day. OSHA is paying increasing attention to the workplace violence issue, particularly in the healthcare industry. While there is no specific OSHA regulation addressing workplace violence, a recent decision supports OSHA’s use of the General Duty Clause in workplace violence cases in the healthcare industry.
In Secretary of Labor v. Integra Health Management, No 13-1124 (March 4, 2019), the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) upheld a violation of the General Duty Clause when it found an employer did not adequately address workplace violence hazards. In that case, the company employed “service coordinators” to help its clients obtain medical care. Health insurers send the clients to Integra after reviewing claim histories to identify individuals who are not receiving appropriate care. In this case, a service coordinator was assigned to visit a client at his home and that service coordinator made notes in her report that the client made her “uncomfortable” and detailed his strange behavior. On a following visit to the client, the service coordinator was stabbed by the client nine times and died.