U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)

More employee protections against workplace violence, thanks to changes at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center

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NEW YORK -- Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in New York has agreed to implement and maintain a comprehensive program to safeguard its employees better against assaults and other on-the-job violence after a patient assaulted a nurse at the Brooklyn facility in 2014.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the 530-bed hospital in August 2014 for failing to protect its employees properly against workplace violence.

On June 18, OSHA and the Brooklyn medical facility reached a settlement agreement that incorporates elements of the agency's guidelines* to help employers prevent workplace violence in health care and social service settings. The agreement includes specific engineering and administrative controls, including the following:

  • Employee training.
  • More holistic violence prevention efforts.
  • Improved communication with employees.
  • Guidance for actions before, during and after workplace violence incidents.
  • Engagement of an outside consultant with expertise in workplace violence in hospital settings.

'Health care and social service workers face job-related violence risks, but effective, proactive employer policies can curtail these dangers. This agreement and its comprehensive corrective measures are great examples of what health care facilities should do to protect their employees better,' said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York.

'This agreement is a positive start to a thorough and focused effort to enhance the safety and health of the facility's workers and prevent and minimize the possibility of future assault. It is Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center's responsibility to carry out its provisions fully and effectively,' said Jeffrey Rogoff, the department's regional solicitor of labor in New York.

Under the settlement's terms, Brookdale will no longer contest the citations, pay a $15,000 fine and agree to allow OSHA to monitor progress of its corrective actions and cooperate with those inspections.

The original inspection was conducted by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office. The agreement was negotiated by attorney Kathryn L. Stewart of the department's regional Office of the Solicitor in New York.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or contact their local OSHA office.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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