US Department of Labor cites medical center for inadequate workplace violence protections for employees
Registered nurses, certified practical nurses, patient care technicians and security guards provide essential services in healthcare facilities. Their work also exposes them to various workplace hazards, including assaults and other forms of workplace violence. Where such risks exist, employers should develop and maintain an effective workplace violence prevention program. An OSHA inspection following employee complaints determined that Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx did not have adequate safeguards for employees in the pediatric emergency department at Montefiore Children’s Hospital.
According to a press release, OSHA found that employees, including nurses, assistants, technicians and security personnel, were exposed to workplace violence. In some cases, physical assaults by violent patients have occurred during individual patient observations, while restraining patients during assaults and escape attempts, and performing patient restraints or restraints . The violent incidents resulted in worker injuries, including broken bones, bites, and neck, back, and shoulder injuries. Injuries forced some employees to miss work. The agency determined that Montefiore’s workplace violence prevention program was inadequate and lacked effective engineering and administrative controls and employee training to protect workers from the recurring risk of workplace violence.
OSHA cited Montefiore for a serious violation under the general duty clause, with a proposed fine of $13,653, for failing to provide a workplace free from known hazards capable of causing death or serious physical injury to employees. The agency also cited the facility for two non-serious violations, with $3,902 in proposed penalties, for incomplete, inaccurate and untimely injury and illness incident reports.