Ontario mental health hospital pleads guilty to violations of Occupational Health and Safety Act

The exterior of the Southlake Regional Health Centre. Katherine Ward / Global News

An Ontario mental health hospital where a patient assaulted two staff members nearly two years ago has been fined $80,000.

The Ministry of Labour says the Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, Ont., pleaded guilty to two violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Read more: Southlake Regional Health Centre to lay off almost 100 registered nurses

The charges stem from an incident in January 2019, when two workers were trying to re-enter the nursing station in the facility’s emergency psychiatric assessment area after delivering food to a patient.

The ministry says another patient, who had been admitted earlier that day, was flagged as being a “moderate” violence risk and had been exhibiting “escalating” behaviours, struck both staffers as they were trying to get back into the station, causing serious injuries.

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It says the facility violated the Occupational Health and Safety Act by failing to provide a way for those inside the nursing station to communicate with those outside of it without opening a door.

The ministry says it was also a violation of the act not to have procedures in place to safely enter or leave the nursing station when a violent patient is in the common area.

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