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Alaska cites AL for lack of training in workplace violence

April 28, 2016
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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Can a facility be cited for not teaching its employees enough about the risks of workplace violence? Yes, says the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD).

An Anchorage, Alaska assisted living facility has been given a $75,000 fine for failing to “ensure employees were adequately trained to recognize and minimize workplace violence hazards.” The DLWD issued the citations following an investigation into the 2015 death of a caregiver allegedly at the hands of a violent resident.

Glenna Wyllie, 57, had been working alone at the Eye to Eye Assisted Living Home when she was beaten and strangled. Her accused attacker, a newly arrived 25-year-old male resident, was charged with first degree murder and is awaiting trial, according to an article in the (Anchorage) Alaska Dispatch News.

The DLWD cited the facility with the maximum penalty allowable for "willful failure to provide a workplace free of recognized hazards" and for failing to report the incident to the Alaska Occupational Safety and Health Administration within the required eight-hour span.

The department's investigation found that the company "failed to ensure employees were adequately trained to recognize and minimize workplace violence hazards” and determined "that the employer knew about the violent tendencies of residents and still required Ms. Wyllie to work alone in violation of the company’s own standards of care," the Dispatch News article said.

The case fact that the facility was held responsible for what didn’t happen as well as what did happen resurrects the importance of proactive risk management. "We found they knew that residents in the facility had violent tendencies and yet, the training that was provided to the victim was very minimal," DLWD Director of Labor Standard Grey Mitchell told the Dispatch News.