Home care agency found to have failed to protect workers against violence following nurse’s death

May 15, 2024

(United States) A federal workplace safety investigation following the death of a licensed practical nurse during an 28 October 2023, home visit in Willimantic, Connecticut, found one of the nation’s largest home-based care providers did not provide adequate safeguards to protect the nurse, Joyce Grayson, and other employees from the dangers of workplace violence.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) determined that on or about 28 October 2023, and at times prior, Elara Caring exposed home healthcare employees to workplace violence from patients who exhibited aggressive behavior and were known to pose a risk to others.

Following its investigation, OSHA cited Jordan Health Care Inc. and New England Home Care Inc., both doing business as Elara Caring, for one willful violation under the agency’s general duty clause. OSHA cited the employer for not developing and implementing adequate measures to protect employees from the ongoing serious hazard of workplace violence. The agency also cited the employer for one other-than-serious violation for not providing work-related injury and illness records to OSHA within four business hours, as required.

Elara Caring faces $163,627 in proposed penalties.

OSHA also found that Elara Caring could have reduced the hazard of workplace violence by, among other ways, performing root cause analyses on incidents of violence and near misses, providing clinicians with comprehensive background information on patients prior to home visits, providing emergency panic alert buttons to clinicians, and developing procedures for the use of safety escorts for visits to patients with high-risk behaviors.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

This is valid as of the 13th May 2024.

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