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OSHA cites health care company whose social worker was stabbed to death

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited a health care company whose social worker was stabbed to death in Dade City last year.

OSHA handed Integra Health Management of Owings Mills, Md., two citations with combined fines of $10,500.

Social worker Stephanie Nicole Ross, 25, visited Lucious Smith, 54, at his Coleman Avenue apartment in December. She'd been there several times before, and she was alone during the fatal visit. Her job was to make sure Smith, who was on medication and had a criminal history, was receiving the health care he needed.

Witnesses saw Ross screaming as she ran from the apartment. Smith chased after her, slashing at her with a butcher knife, according to Dade City police. A stranger rushed Ross to the hospital, where she died later that day.

One violation against Integra — categorized as serious — was for not providing a place of employment free from hazards likely to cause death, and the other — categorized as other than serious — was for not reporting a workplace fatality.

"This incident could have been prevented if the employer had a comprehensive, written, workplace violence prevention program to address hazards and assist employees when they raise concerns about their safety," Teresa Harrison, OSHA's acting regional administrator for the Southeast, said in a news release.

Police said Ross, who lived in Lakeland, had written in case notes that she felt uncomfortable visiting Smith alone and two people should go on future visits. Integra Health Management said managers were unaware of any safety concerns.

Smith, charged with first-degree murder, was found incompetent to stand trial earlier this year.

The company has 15 business days to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

A representative from Integra declined to comment for this story.

OSHA cites health care company whose social worker was stabbed to death 06/18/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 2:52pm]
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