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Wisconsin work injury inflicted by resident at state facility

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that a resident home facility failed to protect workers from hazardous conditions associated with workplace violence involving a mentally ill resident, which resulted in work injury. The home is managed by an overseeing firm contracted by the Wisconsin Family Care Program. An employee that suffers a work injury from a physical altercation with a resident may be able to obtain rightful compensation for work damages.

A former employee revealed that a number of workers had been injured due to the physically violent outbursts of one of the residents, which caught the attention of officials. The local police department was responsible for disclosing the situation to OSHA. Although the employer had taken safety precautions to minimize risk to workers, OSHA did find the facility responsible for exposing some employees to a hazardous environment.

The investigation revealed that eight employees had been injured while at work, resulting in damages severe enough to tally 124 days of work missed. Violations and fines were not issued, but suggestions were made for making the work place safer. OSHA further questions an investigation conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services that heralded the exemplary rating of the facility and the work environment they provide.

Due to the violent nature of the man and the necessity for a locked cell in the home, local officials has been skeptical of the man's ability to continue to live in a social home. The state of Wisconsin has the authority to enforce necessary findings from OSHA if deemed necessary. A worker who has been hurt by a resident while on the job may be confused about their ability to collect workers' compensation. Laws in Wisconsin give employees who have experienced a work injury the potential right to pursue benefits when applicable.

Source: host.madison.com, OSHA finds 'hazardous conditions' at Baraboo prison home where man has injured employees : Madisondotcom, Tim Damos, Jan. 30, 2014

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