A Texas-based home care provider has been ordered to pay a hefty fine after allegedly ignoring threats of workplace violence and forcing its caregivers to work in dangerous homes.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined AndVenture Inc.—which does business as Epic Health Services—$98,000 for failing to adequately protect its employees from the threat of workplace violence.
OSHA cited Epic Health Services for one willful violation associated with employee exposure to workplace violence, including sexual and physical assault. OSHA also cited the company for failing to properly report injuries on OSHA forms.
Additionally, OSHA inspectors determined that Epic Health Services exposed employees to the risk of physical assault as they provided nursing care services to both clients and family members, and the company had no system for reporting incidents or threats of violence.
OSHA opened its investigation on Feb. 1 after receiving a complaint from an AndVenture employee who was sexually assaulted by a home care client after the company had been notified by a different employee of sexual assaults.
AndVenture had received multiple reports of physical, verbal and sexual assaults against employees, in addition to a report of an employee who was forced to work in a home where domestic violence took place, OSHA said.
“Epic Health Services failed to protect its employees from life-threatening hazards of workplace violence and failed to provide an effective workplace violence prevention program,” Richard Mendelson, OSHA regional administrator in Philadelphia, said in a prepared statement. “No worker should ever have to sacrifice their physical well-being to earn a paycheck.”
Dallas-based Epic Health Services provides home care to more than 42,800 adults and children in 17 states. In a statement to Home Health Care News, Epic expressed disappointment and denied the allegations brought against it.
“We were disappointed to receive this citation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and we disagree with the allegations,” the statement read. “Epic Health Services cares deeply about our employees and patients, and their safety is paramount to our operations. Epic will continue to cooperate with OSHA regarding this matter and work toward full resolution.”
Written by Mary Kate Nelson