Those who work in prisons face an inordinate amount of danger each day. They are constantly at risk of being attacked by people capable of extreme violence. Health care workers in prisons are especially at risk of violent attacks due to the close contact they must have with inmates in order to examine and treat them.
Last year, Corizon Health, Inc. was issued OSHA violations and $71,000 in fines for failure to adequately protect its employees from workplace violence. The company provides health care (including dental and psychiatric) to inmates at correctional facilities across the nation, including Riker’s Island. Between 2011 and 2013, the company saw a sharp increase in violent incidents occurring to health care workers. Over the course of the two years, violent incidents occurring to the health care workers rose from eight to thirty-nine.
Among the incidents cited by OSHA were health care workers experiencing punches to the face, exposure to bloodborne pathogens being thrown, being targeted on a “hit list,” assaults, and being knocked unconscious.
To address the issues that have arisen regarding health care worker safety in correctional facilities, Corizon has implemented new procedures and protocols following the OSHA guidelines. The development of new training measures, improved record keeping and incident reporting, as well as workplace violence prevention policies are expected to help provide safeguards to workers. Panic alarms will also be installed, as well as proper barriers. Additionally, health care workers must be accompanied by a corrections officer while treating inmates. Corizon will pay a total of $38,000 in OSHA fines, reduced from the original sum of $71,000.
Workplace violence can result in severe injury, inability to work, and sometimes even death. If you are a health care worker who has been seriously injured as the result of doing your job, contact an experienced Worker’s Compensation attorney who can advise you of your legal rights and remedies. Call The Law Offices of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, LLP at (866) 557-7500.