Matthew Deffebach in Bloomberg BNA: OSHRC to Review Use of General Duty Clause

10/28/2015

The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission is using a pending health-care worker safety case to examine whether the general duty clause of Occupational Safety and Health Act should be used to force health-care providers to prevent exposure to hazards in the workplace, attorneys and occupational safety experts told Bloomberg BNA.

The commission requested briefing on the use of the general duty clause by the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration in a case that involves the murder of a health-care worker, employed by Integra Health Management Inc., who was stabbed to death by a potential client outside of the client's home (Sec'y of Labor v. Integra Health Mgmt., Inc., OSHRC, No. 13-1124, briefing notice 9/18/15)...

According to Matthew Deffebach, a partner with Haynes and Boone, in Houston, one of the most concerning aspects of the use of the clause in Integra was the emphasis on the violent history of the potential client. He pointed to language used by the administrative law judge in affirming the OSHA citations in this case as changing how employers have to investigate hazards.

“This decision really puts the history of patients front and center,” he told Bloomberg BNA. “Now, as a health-care employer are you required to look into the history of all your patients to determine if there is sufficient violence in their past to create a hazard?” he asked.

Excerpted from Bloomberg BNA. To read the full article, click here.

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