ALJ Upholds Citations Against Jersey City Medical Center

OSHA issued citations for one willful and four serious safety violations against the medical center for electrical hazards after a maintenance worker received an electrical shock and fell from a ladder while changing an overhead ballast in a light fixture in June 2016. He died a month later.

An administrative law judge with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has affirmed all of OSHA's safety and health citations issued in December 2016 to the Jersey City Medical Center, as well as affirming OSHA's proposed penalties of $174,593, the Labor Department announced June 28.

OSHA issued citations for one willful and four serious safety violations against the medical center, which is located in Jersey City, N.J., for electrical hazards after a maintenance worker received an electrical shock and fell from a ladder as he changed an overhead ballast in a light fixture in June 2016. OSHA reported that the worker died from his injuries on July 17, 2016.

The worker was untrained in electrical safety work practices, OSHA investigators concluded. According to the agency's news releases, the willful violation was cited because the employer required employees to change ballasts without the proper lockout/tagout training on practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment to prevent hazardous energy release, as well as other safety hazards and related unsafe practices, while the serious violations involved the medical center's failure to ensure de-energized circuits were locked out, maintain an electrical lockout/tagout program, ensure only qualified persons worked on live circuits, provide PPE, and ensure workers did not work on live parts.

The judge found that the employer willfully failed to train the employee for the hazardous electrical work he was directed to perform. A three-day hearing was held in New York City in April 2018, and the decision from OSHRC was issued June 17, 2019. "The outcome of this case shows the employer will be held accountable for willfully exposing employees to serious hazards, and the U.S. Department of Labor stands ready to litigate such issues when employers refuse to accept responsibility," said DOL Regional Solicitor Jeffrey S. Rogoff, in New York.

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