The Southlake Regional Health Centre, located in Newmarket, Ont., has been fined $80,000 after two workers were assaulted by a patient.
A statement from the Ministry of Labour said, in January 2019, a patient was brought to Southlake by York Regional police and was placed in the Mental Health and Wellness Area Unit. The statement said the patient was “exhibiting escalating behaviour.”
Two workers were then delivering food to a different patient in the MHWA unit of Southlake’s emergency department when they were struck by the patient, and this resulted in serious injuries to them.
The investigation conducted by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development found that, “the employer failed to conduct a proper risk assessment to determine what reasonable precautions were needed to protect the safety of the workers.”
The Ministry of Labour said Southlake didn’t have an “effective means of communication” for workers in the facility’s nursing station and for personnel in the common area.
It also stated that Southlake failed to establish a procedure that consists of a safe entry point to the common area of the MWHA, while a person is exhibiting escalating behaviour.
The Ministry of Labour said the health centre pleaded guilty to these two violations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and was charged a victim fine surcharge of 25 per cent.
In a statement, Arden Kystral, president and CEO of Southlake, said it has increased security guard coverage in the hospital and has hired a dedicated workplace violence prevention and safety officer full-time since the incident.
“The safety of everyone who works and receives care at Southlake is a top priority. We want everyone to feel safe at the hospital. This important issue is not just top of mind at Southlake, it is a priority at every hospital across the province,” she said in the statement.