Employers have a responsibility to take the steps that are necessary to
ensure the safety of their employees in whatever type of environment that
work is conducted. In some workplaces this is more difficult than in others.
For instance, hospitals and healthcare facilities have the difficulty of
ensuring the safety of both employees and patients. If this is not done
with some balance, problems could arise. For example, it is possible that
the safety of patients will overshadow the safety of employees, causing
more employees to become
injured on the job. This seems to be an issue for one Pittsburgh psychiatric clinic.
The Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic underwent an inspection by
the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration after an onsite
shooting last March. One employee was killed and five more were injured
before police fatally shot the mentally ill gunman responsible. The report
from the OSHA consultant noted that the clinic's workplace violence
prevention efforts are eclipsed by its efforts to ensure patient safety.
The clinic's managers disagreed with the report and also noted that
OSHA had not cited the clinic for safety violations after the shooting.
However, OSHA did make suggestions for improving clinic efforts to prevent
workplace violence. Managers claim all of the suggestions have been acted
upon, or are being instituted.
When an employee suffers from a work-related injury, he or she may be entitled
to claim workers' compensation benefits. If the claim is granted,
the injured employee may be able to recover compensation for lost wages,
medical bills and other expenses that arose as a result of the accident.
When an employee suffers from an injury due to an unsafe workplace, the
employer may not only be expected to pay workers' compensation benefits
but also face an OSHA investigation. These OSHA investigations can, at
times, lead to additional monetary penalties if the circumstances are
so egregious that additional punitive damages are deemed to be fitting.
A worker should know his or her rights and the scope of possible benefits
that might be obtained. Consulting an experienced attorney can help in
Source: NECN.com, "Report to OSHA: Pa. clinic overlooks worker safety,"
Associated Press, Jan. 2, 2013