While violence can erupt in any work environment, healthcare institutions can be particularly dangerous. Hospital employees are sometimes dealing with people with mental health challenges or who have been arrested by police and may be extremely agitated.
New York, NY (PRWEB) August 16, 2014
Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn faces $78,000 in fines after an inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration allegedly found about 40 incidents of workplace violence reported between Feb. 7 and April 12, 2014, according to an OSHA news release.
In one of the most extreme cases, a nurse sustained severe brain injuries when she was attacked while working on Feb. 7, according to OSHA.
Commenting on the report, New York workers’ compensation attorney Edgar N. Romano, senior partner at Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano L.L.P., said hospitals can be hazardous environments for employees.
“Workplace violence in medical facilities is a serious problem in New York City and across the country,” Romano said. “While violence can erupt in any work environment, healthcare institutions can be particularly dangerous. Hospital employees are sometimes dealing with people with mental health challenges or who have been arrested by police and may be extremely agitated.”
Romano referred to an OSHA report released in September 2013 that stated a hospital is one of the most hazardous places to work. In U.S. hospitals in 2011, there were 6.8 work-related injuries and illnesses for every 100 full-time employees – a higher rate than seen in construction and manufacturing, according to the report.
Romano said hospitals as well as all other employers have a duty to protect their employees from workplace violence.
“If an employer knows about a potentially dangerous situation and fails to take steps to keep employees safe, the employer might be legally responsible for the injuries,” Romano said. “Even in cases where the employer is found to be not responsible, an injured employee who has to miss time from work and get medical treatment has a right to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.”
According to the OSHA news release, the workplace violence at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn stemmed from incidents involving threats or physical or verbal assaults by patients and visitors.
“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, according to the news release.
OSHA cited Brookdale for one “willful violation” for allegedly failing to develop and adopt adequate measures to reduce or eliminate the likelihood of physical violence and assaults against employees by patients or visitors. That carries a proposed fine of $70,000, according to the news release.
Brookdale also was cited and fined $8,000 for allegedly failing to correctly review and certify an illness and injury reporting form and for allegedly failing to provide forms when requested by the authorized employee representative, according to the news release.
Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York, said in the news release the medical center in Brooklyn must launch a Workplace Violence Prevention Program immediately to maintain the safety of workers. Such prevention programs typically involve the implementation of new policies and procedures as well as “engineering controls” such as installation of panic alarm systems and protective barriers, among other elements.
Brookdale must comply with OSHA or contest the findings, according to the news release.
According to an Aug. 12 article in Modern Healthcare, Brookdale said, “The safety and security of our employees, patients and visitors is and has been our highest priority.… It is completely unacceptable any time a staff member is assaulted while simply doing his or her job to help others.”
Attorney Romano said employees injured at work who have questions about their rights should speak to an experienced attorney. For more information, call (800) 692-3717 for a free case evaluation.
The OSHA news release cited is “Brooklyn medical facility cited by US Department of Labor’s OSHA for inadequate workplace violence safeguards.”
The Modern Healthcare article cited is “OSHA fines New York hospital over workplace violence.”
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.
DISCLAIMER: Please remember that prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future matter, including yours, in which a lawyer or law firm may be retained. The information provided in this press release is not legal advice, but is provided to give general legal information for educational purposes. Reviewing or accessing this press release does not establish a client-attorney relationship with this Firm.