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Oregon State Hospital issued $54,000 workplace safety fine

Oregon State Hospital, Jan. 27, 2022.
Kristyna Wentz-Graff
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Oregon State Hospital, Jan. 27, 2022.

Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed a $54,000 fine against the Oregon State Hospital for failing to investigate workplace injuries.

From January 2021 to June 2022, the hospital didn’t investigate every time workers suffered an injury or illness that caused them to miss work, according to Oregon OSHA’s two-page citation. The citation also says the hospital didn’t look at ways to prevent future injuries and illness from occurring.

The state hospital is a secure psychiatric facility that largely houses people charged with crimes, but who need mental health treatment in order to continue with their cases. In recent years, it has struggled to admit people from local jails, in violation of their constitutional rights. A long-standing federal court order requires the state hospital to admit people within seven days of being ordered into their care.

Last year, the hospital documented more than 300 cases that resulted in thousands of hours away from work, according to the citation. Oregon OSHA also notes that about 40% of the injury and illness cases this year were the result of workplace violence and most of those cases were not investigated.

Like other health care facilities, the Oregon State Hospital has struggled with staffing throughout the pandemic. At times, the National Guard has been called in to assist.

A spokesperson for the hospital told OPB that they plan to pay the fine and that they are working to address the issues.

Copyright 2022 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.