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Nationwide Children's cited for not protecting workers at behavioral center

The hospital says they're reviewing OSHA's findings and working with the agency regarding their concerns.
Credit: WBNS-TV

COLUMBUS, Ohio — An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor found that Nationwide Children’s Hospital failed to protect its employees, including nurses and mental health professionals, from assaults by patients.

The Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched an investigation at the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion in November 2022 following a complaint of unsafe work conditions.

The OSHA determined the facility did not protect employees from violent incidents involving the hospital’s patients in which nurses and mental health staff suffered concussions, lacerations, contusions and sprains. It was also discovered that the hospital failed to keep proper records of employee injuries as required.

“Behavioral healthcare workers can be exposed to risks when treating patients who suffer with conditions that can lead to violent outbursts,” explained OSHA Area Director Larry Johnson. “Unfortunately, Nationwide Children’s Hospital failed to take the necessary precautions that could have prevented their employees from being injured.”

The hospital has 15 business days from receiving citations and penalties to comply, request and informal conference with OSHA’s area director or challenge the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

A spokesperson for Nationwide Children's provided a statement saying in part, they're reviewing the findings of OSHA and working with the agency regarding their concerns.

The full statement is included below:

"The youth mental health crisis has highlighted the complex challenges for behavioral health providers. Our priority is to provide the highest quality care for the children we serve in the safest possible environment for our employees, patients, and families. Nationwide Children’s Hospital is reviewing the findings of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and is working directly with OSHA regarding its concerns. Nationwide Children’s has extensive safety policies, processes, and procedures in place, and our team continually reviews and updates these safety practices."

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