Sept. 14, 2016
READING, Pa. – In the last several months, workers at a Reading facility for children and youth in crisis became victims in at least 10 incidents of workplace violence, federal workplace safety and health inspectors have found.
In one incident, a worker suffered serious injuries after being kicked twice in the face, head and neck by one of the facility’s residents.
Acting on an employee’s complaint, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspected The Children’s Home of Reading on March 7, 2016.
On Sept. 7, 2016, the agency cited the Berks County educational and housing facility with one serious citation for not providing personal protective equipment to protect employees’ arms from bites. One additional serious citation was issued under the agency’s general duty clause for workplace violence, after OSHA’s investigation determined that several employees were assaulted in at least 10 incidents since February 2016.
“Employees have the right to a safe and healthful workplace, however, there are many documented reports in the past several years of employees being exposed to workplace violence at The Children’s Home of Reading,” said Timothy Braun, acting director of OSHA’s Harrisburg Area Office. “This facility must take immediate action and institute effective protective measures to ensure that no more workers get hurt.”
The citations can be viewed at https://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/TheChildrensHomeofReading_1130403.pdf
Founded in 1886, The Children’s Home of Reading was assessed proposed penalties totaling $23,160. The employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Harrisburg office at 717-782-3902.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.