Getting a better handle on workplace safety is paramount for one Florida-based business.
The GEO Group Inc., based in Boca Raton, recently agreed to a corporate-wide settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor that requires the company to implement comprehensive procedures and policies to better safeguard its employees from the hazards of workplace violence in every correctional and adult detention facility that it manages in the nation.
“This corporate-wide settlement agreement will have a far-reaching effect and impact on correctional officers and other staff nationwide,” remarked Teresa Harrison, OSHA’s acting regional administrator in Atlanta. “This agreement is the first of its kind in the corrections industry that addresses the hazards associated with workplace violence.”
In June 2012, the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company for workplace safety violations at a prison facility it managed in Meridian, Miss.
These violations included a willful violation for the company’s failure to: provide adequate staffing of correctional officers; fix malfunctioning cell door locks; and provide required training and personal protective equipment to protect employees from incidents of violent behavior by inmates, including stabbings, bites and other injuries. The company contested the citation to the Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.
Employer to pay $13,600 Penalty
Under a three-year agreement, the willful citation has been reclassified as a serious violation and the GEO Group Inc. will pay a $13,600 fine.
Additionally, the company is required to hire a third-party consultant to develop and maintain a workplace violence prevention program and conduct onsite workplace violence safety audits at each of the 42 correctional and adult detention facilities that it manages across the country.
They will also need to create a corporate-level workplace violence coordinator position and develop a workplace safety committee at each of these facilities.
In those unionized facilities covered under the agreement, the committees will include representatives from both labor and management.
Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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