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Did a safety violation allow psychiatric patient to stab guard?

The concern for the safety of health care workers has been the subject of several recent media reports. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating an incident in which an Ohio security guard was attacked by a psychiatric patient. The agency provides health care facilities with guidelines to prevent such incidents, and investigators will likely be able to determine whether a safety violation allowed this attack to occur.

According to a police report, a 54-year-old security guard was accompanying a 33-year-old psychiatric patient on a trip from a hospital in Akron to the St. Thomas Hospital. The security guard was not armed while traveling with the patient. For unknown reasons, the patient attacked the guard and stabbed him in his neck and his stomach.

Police reported that it is not known how or why the patient had two knives in his possession. An OSHA spokesperson said that hundreds of workers suffer workplace violence-related injuries every year. He said incidents such as this one may remind employers of the potential risks faced by employees who have to deal with unstable individuals.

The severity of the security guard's injuries is not known, nor has it been determined whether any safety violation was committed. Regardless, he will be entitled to pursue compensation by filing a benefits claim with the Ohio workers' compensation system. Upon establishing that the injury was work-related, the insurance program will award compensation for medical expenses, and if the worker lost wages due to absence from work during recovery, a percentage of his lost income may also be covered.

Source: fox10tv.com, "Hospital patient stabs security guard, OSHA investigating", Denise Zarrella, Feb. 17, 2016

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