After an investigation by OSHA, a federal judge ruled that UHS of Delaware and UHS of Fuller had exposed Fuller Hospital employees to workplace violence. Fuller Hospital is a behavioral health facility that provides acute inpatient hospitalization for adolescents and adults.
The OSHA investigation found the hospital's lack of safeguards subjected staff to workplace violence. Incidents included Fuller workers being kicked, punched, slapped, bitten and having their hair ripped out. Certain staff members also suffered repeated concussions. Over 500 incidents of aggression occurred at Fuller Hospital during a seven-month period.
OSHA cited UHS-DE and UHS-Fuller for exposing employees to workplace violence hazards in December 2019. The companies contested the citation before the independent OSHA Review Commission.
A judge determined OSHA's proposed abatement measures were feasible and that they would materially reduce the hazard of workplace violence. These abatement measures included:
- Ensuring that units are adequately staffed to handle behavioral health emergencies.
- Providing employees with personal panic alarms.
- Adequately training new employees.
- Conducting post-incident debriefings and investigations.
- Providing trained security personnel on all three shifts.