Hospital Cited for Inadequate Workplace Violence Safeguards

The Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center was cited after an OSHA inspection. The facility's workplace violence program was ineffective, with many employees unaware of its purpose, specifics, or existence," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.

OSHA has cited Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., alleging employees were exposed to head, eye, face, and groin injuries and intimidation and threats during routine interactions with patients and visitors. The employer allegedly failed to protect employees adequately against workplace violence. The medical center faces $78,000 in fines following an inspection by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office.

During the inspection, OSHA found approximately 40 incidents of workplace violence reported between Feb. 7 and April 12, 2014. These incidents involved employees who were threatened or physically and verbally assaulted by patients and visitors, or when they were breaking up altercations between patients. The most serious of these incidents was the Feb. 7 assault of a nurse, who sustained severe brain injuries when she was attacked while working.

"Brookdale management was aware of these incidents and did not take effective measures to prevent assaults against its employees. The facility's workplace violence program was ineffective, with many employees unaware of its purpose, specifics, or existence," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.

OSHA has cited Brookdale for one willful violation, with a proposed fine of $70,000, for failing to develop and implement adequate measures to reduce or eliminate the likelihood of physical violence and assaults against employees by patients or visitors.

"The hazard of violence against employees is well recognized in the health care industry and known to this employer," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "Brookdale must actively and effectively implement a workplace violence prevention program immediately to ensure the safety and well-being of its workers."

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