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Region 1 News Release: 11-1111-BOS/BOS 2011-265
July 28, 2011
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074
Email: fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA cites North Suffolk Mental Health Association
in Massachusetts for inadequate workplace violence safeguards
Citation follows worker's death at group home facility in Revere

ANDOVER, Mass. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Massachusetts-based North Suffolk Mental Health Association for failing to provide its employees with adequate safeguards against workplace violence. OSHA opened an inspection following the January death of an employee who was allegedly abducted from the company's group home in Revere by one of the residents.

The senior counselor, who was working alone, was attacked and fatally injured during the performance of her regularly assigned duties. OSHA's inspection found that employees at the facility are exposed to the hazard of physical assault while providing services to clients, and that the employer failed to develop and implement adequate measures to protect employees against such assaults.

As a result, OSHA has cited the facility with a serious violation of the agency's "general duty clause" for failing to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause serious injury or death. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

"This citation points to the clear and pressing need for this employer, and other employers in this industry, to develop a comprehensive and effective program to proactively address workplace violence situations that imperil the safety and health of their workers," said Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA's area director in Andover. "Prevention, protection, awareness, training and comm