NJ Hospital Battles OSHA on Assault Report

Dateline: Paramus , New Jersey,  September 15, 2015

RISK Alert   Case Study   #780

Bergen Regional Medical Center to Hires Law Firm to Fight OSHA on Proposed Fine
for High Number of Workplace Violence Incidents against the Hospital Staff.

Bergen Hospital has been investigated by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
in the past.  In 2014, OSHA found that management “had not developed or implemented adequate
measures to protect workers from assaults

nurse-bruiseOSHA noted that there were 45 incidents of workplace violence in 2013 and 10 in the first quarter of 2014.  OSHA announced the citation this month and a proposed fine of $13,600.

Incidents cited in the OSHA report included:

       A lab tech trying to draw blood was punched.

A security guard was kicked and bitten.

A nurse was pushed to the floor after she intervened when a
patient on patient attack

A mental health assistant was trapped in a room with a patient,
who barricaded himself in his room after he charged and threatened employees.

The OSHA investigation and proposed fine at Bergen Regional mirrors the experience of staff members in hospitals, clinics, and behavioral health organizations around the country, who are all affected by the new OSHA 3148 regulations, which were introduced in 2015 to fight the rising violent incidents occurring in hospitals around the U.S.

The recent update of OSHA 3148 requires Annual Workplace Risk Assessments.
Read the entire text of OSHA 3148, Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3148.pdf

Lessons Learned:

1.  Any organization that accepts money from any Federal agency has to attest
     that they are up to date with all Federal requirements, including OSHA 3148.

2.  Bergen Regional Medical Center may end up spending more on lawyers
    than the cost of the fine ($13,000).

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