The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission ruled Thursday that a judge erred when she upheld a workplace citation and fine issued to the owner of a Colorado psychiatric hospital.
The commission overruled the decision of former Administrative Law Judge Peggy S. Ball, who had upheld the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s citation and $11,934 penalty against UHS of Denver Inc., owner of a psychiatric hospital in Littleton, Colorado.
The company has been issued a serious violation by OSHA after being accused of failing to protect its employees from workplace violence by psychiatric patients.
Judge Ball had noted that UHS did not produce certain financial documents and did not make its chief financial officer available for a deposition. As a result, she held that the company had not provided sufficient evidence that it would constitute an economic hardship to adopt a list of 10 mitigation measures that OSHA proposed to protect hospital employees from “physical threats and abuse” by patients.
The OSHRC ruled that Judge Ball erred in reaching the negative conclusion and remanded the case, saying another judge would have to decide whether economic feasibility was established.