Mass. Behavioral Health Facility Faces $207K in Fines for OSHA Violations

August 16, 2017

A Massachusetts behavioral health facility faces $207,690 in proposed penalties from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for violations found while conducting a follow-up inspection.

On June 29, 2017, OSHA issued UHS of Westwood Pembroke Inc. – doing business as Lowell Treatment Center – a notification of failure to abate a violation involving workplace violence. This follows a serious violation related to the same hazards that federal safety and health inspectors found in mid-May. As a result of the 2015 inspection, the employer and OSHA entered into a Formal Settlement Agreement in April, which outlined specific provisions of a workplace violence prevention program.

OSHA opened a follow-up inspection in January after Lowell Treatment Center failed to provide documentation to show that it had implemented a workplace violence program, and the agency’s Andover Area Office received a complaint alleging employees remained at risk.

OSHA found the center had failed to comply with multiple terms of its agreement, and that despite previous citations and worker injuries, the risks of workers suffering fatal injury or serious harm had not been adequately addressed. OSHA also cited the company for one repeat violation and three other-than-serious violations related to record-keeping.

“Our inspectors found that employees throughout the Lowell Treatment Center continued to be exposed to incidents of workplace violence that could have been greatly reduced had the employer fully implemented the settlement agreement,” said Galen Blanton, OSHA’s regional administrator in Boston, Mass., in a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Labor.

UHS is one of the nation’s largest health-care management companies. Through its subsidiaries, UHS operates approximately 350 behavioral health facilities, acute care hospitals, ambulatory centers and freestanding emergency departments throughout the U.S., the U.K., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. With approximately 130 workers, the Lowell Treatment Center, one of the UHS locations, is a psychiatric hospital that offers inpatient hospitalization and partial hospitalization for adolescents and adults.

UHS of Westwood Pembroke Inc. has notified OSHA of its intent to contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Source: United States Department of Labor