Judge rules UHS mental health hospital failed to protect workers from violence

A federal administrative judge has ruled that Attleboro, Mass.-based Fuller Hospital, a behavioral health facility, did not offer ample protection against workplace violence for workers in 2019, Insurance Journal reported April 28. 

The ruling was made in light of an inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which found evidence of over 500 violent incidents at the facility in a seven-month period. 

The facility is managed by King of Prussia, Pa.-based Universal Health Services' Delaware branch, which was also named in the ruling. 

The judge also sanctioned both companies for destroying surveillance videos showing workplace violence and sanctioned UHS-DE for failing to adhere to discovery obligations. Both companies were ordered to pay OSHA $20,175 in attorneys' fees.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts previously ordered the hospital and UHS-DE to pay the department $30,515 in attorneys' fees after they failed to comply with an OSHA-issued subpoena for the surveillance videos. 

The investigation was prompted by numerous employee complaints, including events where workers were being kicked, punched, slapped, bitten and having their hair ripped out by patients. Some employees also got multiple concussions. 

OSHA also found these events increased during times when staffing at the facility was low. 

Fuller Hospital and UHS-DE have filed for an appeal with the full Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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