We know that hospital workers face a risk of injury that is higher than people working in many other occupations, including construction.
New York, NY (PRWEB) February 14, 2015
New York Presbyterian-Columbia University Medical Center allegedly exposed workers to laundry contaminated with blood and other bodily fluids, according to federal labor investigators who are proposing more than $201,000 in fines.
Commenting on an OSHA news release about the investigation, New York City workers’ compensation lawyer Edgar N. Romano said such fines send a message to all other area hospitals that the health and safety of employees and patients should always be a top priority. (OSHA, Jan. 30, 2015, “New York Presbyterian-Columbia University Medical Center exposes employees to contaminated laundry, tuberculosis risks”)
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s news release stated that the fine is connected to a complaint from a year ago, when the hospital replaced linen laundry bags with thin plastic bags that broke and needlessly exposed workers to laundry contaminated with infectious materials. The bags broke open on the basement floor or failed to stay closed when they tumbled down the laundry chutes, according to the release.
Employees were exposed as they gathered and repacked the laundry, according to OSHA. Additionally, OSHA, which began investigating in July 2014, states that the hospital failed to follow up with other employees who were exposed to tuberculosis patients.
Attorney Romano said hospitals must do everything they can to prevent such accidents and dangerous exposure from happening.
“We know that hospital workers face a risk of injury that is higher than people working in many other occupations, including construction,” said Romano, an experienced work injury lawyer at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, L.L.P. “They face a variety of hazards, from lifting and repetitive motion hazards to chemical and drug exposures and workplace violence. According to OSHA, in 2011 hospitals in the United States recorded 6.8 work-related injuries and illnesses for every 100 full-time employees, which is nearly twice the rate for private industry.”
According to the OSHA news release, management of New York Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center allegedly knew the laundry bags were deficient and continued to use them. OSHA investigated and found that “the medical center failed to provide all exposed workers with protective gloves and outer garments; hand-washing facilities; a cleaning or decontamination schedule; and failed to provide employees with bloodborne hazard training appropriate to their education, literacy and language level.”
OSHA stated it cited the hospital for two willful violations, 10 serious violations and one other violation of workplace health standards.
In a statement, New York-Presbyterian said it disagreed with the findings and is appealing, according to a Jan. 30, 2015, report in 4 New York (“NYC Hospital Exposed Employees to Blood Laundry, Tuberculosis: Feds”).
Romano said any hospital worker who was injured or exposed to infectious material and became ill should seek the advice of legal counsel. An attorney can evaluate any injured employee’s case and help protect their rights, he said.
“For decades and decades, we have provided quality representation for injured workers who need help with workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits against third parties that were at fault in workplace accidents,” Romano said. “We understand how devastating an accident at work can be on the employee and his or her family. That’s what drives us to work so hard to help people get their lives back together.”
About Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, L.L.P.
Edgar Romano was named one of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in New York” in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and has been recognized as a Super Lawyer every year since 2010. He received his undergraduate degree from Brandeis University and his Juris Doctorate degree from the John Marshall Law School. With a focus on workers’ compensation cases in New York City, Romano is on the Board of Directors of the New York State Workers Compensation Bar Association and previously served as president of the Workers Injury Law and Advocacy Group.
With 80 years of experience hearing over 100,000 cases, Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, L.L.P. has obtained settlements totaling over a billion dollars for New Yorkers. With 100 legal professionals on staff, the law firm has won numerous accolades for providing its clients with strong, reliable legal representation and has a well-earned reputation as one of the top law firms for cases involving workplace accidents and cases involving workers’ compensation and Social Security disability.
If you or a loved one has been injured in the New York City area, call (800) 692-3717 for a free case evaluation.
Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, L.L.P. has 11 locations across the five boroughs, southern New York, and Long Island. Visit http://www.workerslaw.com.
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