Safety agency says employer of killed visiting nurse failed to protect her and should face fines

Federal workplace safety officials have determined that a home health care company in Connecticut failed to adequately protect a visiting nurse who was tragically killed during an appointment with a convicted rapist at a halfway house. As a result, they are recommending that the company be fined approximately $161,000.

The findings of the investigation conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding Elara Caring and the unfortunate death of Joyce Grayson have been released. Joyce Grayson, a dedicated nurse with 36 years of experience and a mother of six, tragically lost her life on October 28. Elara Caring, a Dallas, Texas-based company that offers home care services to over 60,000 patients across 17 states, has stated its disagreement with OSHA’s conclusions and intends to challenge them.

According to a statement by OSHA, the company was found to have exposed home healthcare employees to workplace violence from patients who displayed aggressive behavior and posed a risk to others.

According to a statement, Charles McGrevy, an OSHA area director in Hartford, Connecticut, asserted that Elara Caring neglected its legal obligation to ensure the safety of its employees and thus failed to prevent workplace injuries. This failure resulted in the tragic loss of a worker’s life.

According to OSHA, there are various measures that the company could have taken to minimize the risks of workplace violence. These include equipping healthcare providers with detailed background information about patients, providing panic alert buttons for immediate assistance, and implementing safety escort procedures for specific patients.

Elara Caring, along with its subsidiaries Jordan Health Services and New England Home Care, has been cited by OSHA. The agency has mandated that Elara Caring must take immediate action to develop and implement the necessary safeguards, which include a comprehensive workplace violence prevention program.

Read More:  Congress goes closer to forcing TikTok to be sold or risk a US ban: what comes next?

Elara Caring strongly disagrees with the citation issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, deeming it unwarranted. In a statement emailed to The Associated Press, the company expressed its intention to vigorously contest the citation.

Connecticut officials have determined that Michael Reese, the convicted rapist accused of killing Grayson, was not considered a threat to the community. Reese, who is 39 years old, had been serving a prison sentence of over 14 years for the stabbing and sexual assault of a woman in 2006 in New Haven. Following his release, he was placed on probation and resided in a halfway house in Willimantic.

The company expressed that it was the responsibility of state authorities to monitor and manage the patient’s activities after their release. They also acknowledged that the death of Joyce Grayson was a tragic event and conveyed their continued sympathy and support to the family.

The company had previously stated that it had implemented safeguards to ensure the safety of its workers. However, in light of Grayson’s tragic death, the company has announced that it will be reviewing and enhancing these safety measures.

The state court system, responsible for supervising probation, has declined to provide any comments on cases that may involve potential legal action.

OSHA and Elara Caring have scheduled an informal meeting on Thursday, according to an OSHA spokesperson. Elara Caring has until May 17 to address the OSHA citation. This includes either complying with the agency’s directives or challenging them.

Grayson’s death has sparked a demand for increased safeguards for home health care workers in Connecticut and nationwide. Currently, Connecticut legislators are reviewing a proposed bill aimed at enhancing the safety measures for healthcare professionals.

Read More:  Is It Illegal to Flip Off a Cop in Colorado? Here's What the Law Says

Grayson had a morning appointment at Reese’s halfway house to administer his medication on the day she was killed. However, after missing subsequent appointments, her daughter became concerned and called the police to request a well-being check.

Reese faces charges of murder, attempted first-degree sexual assault, and other crimes in relation to Grayson’s death. He has not yet entered pleas, and his public defender has not responded to messages seeking comment, including an email sent on Wednesday.

According to Kelly Reardon, the lawyer representing Grayson’s family, they are hopeful that the OSHA findings will lead to safety improvements within the home health care industry.

According to an email sent to the AP by Reardon, it has been acknowledged by OSHA that Elara Caring deliberately endangered Joyce Grayson by disregarding employee complaints regarding aggressive and violent patients that they were obligated to care for. This recognition aligns with the Grayson family’s long-standing belief since Joyce’s tragic murder on October 28, 2023.

Elara Caring was also cited by OSHA for a less serious violation, namely, failing to provide work-related injury and illness records to OSHA within the required four business hours. As a result, OSHA has proposed an additional fine of $2,300.

Read More:

Leave a Comment