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OSHA fines York-area health care provider $98K after sexual assault
A sexual assault of a home health care worker in York County led to a $98,000 fine and citations for the victim's employer.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, opened an investigation on Feb. 1 after an employee of AndVenture Inc. reported being sexually assaulted by a home care client. AndVenture Inc. does contract work with Epic Health Services.
“Epic Health Services failed to protect its employees from life-threatening hazards of workplace violence and failed to provide an effective workplace violence prevention program," Richard Mendelson, OSHA regional administrator in Philadelphia, said in a news release. “No worker should ever have to sacrifice their physical well-being to earn a paycheck.”
OSHA issued one willful citation, stating employees were exposed to the hazard of workplace violence on Dec. 26, 2015, resulting in verbal and serious physical assaults while providing nursing care services to clients.
The willful citation from OSHA also said on March 8, 2016, employees were sent to hostile home environments, resulting in verbal intimidation and threats of serious physical assaults while providing nursing care services to clients. This citation amounted to $70,000 in fines.
The Department of Labor said in a news release that the company had been warned by another employee of sexual assaults in the workplace.
OSHA also issued an "other-than-serious" citation to Epic Health Services for failing to record injuries properly on OSHA forms. Four items in the second citation amounted to $28,000 in fines.
Epic Health Services officials said they were disappointed to receive the citations from OSHA and disagree with the allegations.
"Epic Health Services cares deeply about our employees and patients, and their safety is paramount to our operations," officials said in a statement. "Epic will continue to cooperate with OSHA regarding the matter and work toward full resolution."
Epic Health has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.