OSHA fines New York hos­pi­tal over work­place vi­o­lence

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Bob Her­man

The Oc­cu­pa­tional Safety and Health Ad­min­is­tra­tion has fined Brook­dale Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal and Med­i­cal Cen­ter, a 790-bed hos­pi­tal in New York, $78,000 over dozens of in­ci­dents in which pa­tients and vis­i­tors as­saulted em­ploy­ees. One of the most egre­gious events left a nurse with se­vere brain in­juries.

Brook­dale called that in­ci­dent a tragedy and em­pha­sized, in a state­ment, that “work­place vi­o­lence is a chal­lenge that all health­care in­sti­tu­tions around New York and the coun­try face.”

Pa­tient and vis­i­tor vi­o­lence is one rea­son hos­pi­tals rank among the most haz­ardous places to work. Ac­cord­ing to an OSHA re­port re­leased last fall, there are 6.8 work-re­lated in­juries and ill­nesses for ev­ery 100 full-time hos­pi­tal em­ploy­ees—a rate that puts hos­pi­tals ahead of other in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing and con­struc­tion.

At Brook­dale, OSHA found 40 in­stances of vi­o­lence from pa­tients and vis­i­tors be­tween Fe­bru­ary and April. Hos­pi­tal em­ploy­ees faced sev­eral forms of phys­i­cal vi­o­lence. For ex­am­ple, one pa­tient tripped an em­ployee, in­jur­ing the em­ployee’s left knee, arms and hands, re­quir­ing two days away from work.

The most se­ri­ous in­ci­dent noted in OSHA’s ci­ta­tion oc­curred in Fe­bru­ary. A pa­tient on the Brook­lyn hos­pi­tal’s fifth floor at­tacked a nurse and re­peat­edly kicked her in the head, which led to brain dam­age and “life-threat­en­ing in­juries.”

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