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Nurse Violently Assaulted By Inmate, OSHA Cites Facility For Safety Failure

The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) completed an investigation into the violent attack of a nurse at a South Bay detention facility in South Bay, FL,  in May 2023. According to the investigation, a nurse suffered facial fractures after being punched multiple times by an inmate who held a rock in their fist while punching. The attack resulted in the nurse’s nasal bone being broken and cuts on their forehead. 

The inmate had a known history of violence. OSHA cited the GEO Group Inc., the private company operating the facility, for failing to implement appropriate safety procedures and training to prevent workplace violence.

OSHA assessed $26,787 in proposed penalties for GEO Group Inc.

Lack of Safety Procedures and Protective Equipment Put Nurses at Risk

OSHA found that GEO Group did not ensure a safe workplace, provide personal protective equipment, properly train staff on recognizing and responding to violent behavior, or keep records on inmate assaults. 

“Workplace violence is a serious and alarming concern for healthcare workers who face a much higher risk of attacks than other workers,” said OSHA Area Office Director Condell Eastmond in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Employers like the GEO Group are aware of the hazards and again failed to protect its employees. As a result, a nurse suffered a brutal and painful attack. The facility must act to protect it workers immediately.”

The investigation revealed that GEO Group did not have appropriate safeguards in place to mitigate risks to nurses and other healthcare workers.

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Inadequate Response and Reporting of Workplace Violence

In addition to lacking safety procedures and protective equipment, OSHA found that GEO Group did not properly train staff on how to recognize and respond to potentially violent situations. GEO Group also failed to keep records of inmate assaults, making it difficult to identify patterns and make necessary changes to policy. According to OSHA, the GEO Group Inc. operates nationwide in 102 facilities and employs a workforce of 7,500 employees.

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