New Item: Montefiore fined $17K for workplace violence violations – Becker’s Hospital Review

The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration has fined New York City-based Montefiore Medical Center after the agency said it found that employees, including nurses, assistants, technicians and security personnel, were exposed to workplace violence.

Montefiore, an academic medical center that is part of the Montefiore Health System, was fined $13,653 for failing to keep workers safe, as well as $3,902 for incomplete, inaccurate and untimely injury and illness incident reports, according to an OSHA news release from Jan. 14. 

In a statement shared with Becker’s, the medical center said it is “in the process of responding to OSHA’s claims. Certainly, the health and safety of our staff and patients are our highest priority.”

OSHA issued the fines following an inspection of the facility.

The agency said it found the medical center lacked adequate safeguards for employees in the pediatric emergency department of the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore. Specifically, OSHA said it found the facility “ignored repeated episodes of physical assault that put their employees at risk,” and failed to implement and maintain an effective workplace violence prevention program.

Montefiore was given 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings. 

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Blackline Safety : 6 Common Workplace Injuries and How You Can Mitigate Them – marketscreener.com

Employees face a variety of threats to their safety across different industries and roles. The types of workplace injuries below have challenged OH&S Managers around the world and in a variety of industries and roles:


Workplace Injuries


Slips, Trips, and Falls

The National Safety Council of the United States of America reported 27,500 deaths due to slips, trips, and falls in 2010 (a 6% increase from 2010). Slips, trips, and falls are one of the leading causes of workplace injuries & death and are a risk for many businesses. The conditions that increase the risk of a slip, trip, or fall can include spills, weather, poor flooring materials, and cluttered walkways. To help reduce the risk of an employee suffering from a slip, trip, or fall, we recommend you read 6 Tips to Reduce Slips, Trips, and Falls in the Workplace and 6 Tips for Dealing with Black Ice

Example Industries:Building maintenance services, restaurants, utility companies, public services, energy, construction, and manufacturing


Workplace Violence

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive reported that between 2006 and 2007, there were 288,000 assaults and 397,000 situations in which threats were uttered. Employees that work in isolated areas of during evening hours may be at risk of facing workplace violence.

  • Develop a Zero Tolerance Policy covering employees, visitors, clients, patients, contractors, or any other person that may interact with your business
  • Install engineering controls to reduce or eliminate the possibility of workplace violence such as:

    • Cameras
    • Improved lighting
    • Access controls (Security badges, keys, etc.)
    • Install protective barriers
    • Alarm systems
    • Ensure that locations where employees work can be easily seen by others
  • Provide employees with training on avoiding workplace violence
  • Provide a drop safe to reduce the amount of cash employees keep on hand

Example Industries:Retail, financial, public transportation, security guards, and public safety


Lifting and Bending

Improper lifting or bending can result in back and muscle injuries. An injury to your back can occur regardless of the amount of weight being lifted if proper lifting techniques are not used. Reducing the risk of back injuries can be done by reducing the distance and level of exertion required to lift and manipulate objects – especially large or heavy objects. Heavy lifting should be performed at waist level to avoid unnecessary bending or hyper-extension.

Example Industries:Manufacturing, warehousing, retail, restaurants, logistics & transportation, utilities, and construction


Collisions

Vehicular collisions are a leading cause of occupational injury and death. The Drive Safely Work Week campaign by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety has outlined four methods to reduce the risk of having a vehicular collision while working:

  • Regular vision screenings
  • Being well-rested and properly fueled
  • Having all vehicle preventative maintenance performed
  • Ensuring that all settings in your vehicle are configured to provide the greatest line of sight and that the vehicle is a good fit for the driver to maximize energy

Example Industries:Utilities, public services, logistics & transportation, energy, manufacturing, and construction


Heart Attack

With an aging workforce, the risk of a heart attack has increased in the last decade. There are a variety ways to help mitigate your employee’s risk of suffering a heart attack.

Example Industries:All Industries


Exhaustion and Fatigue

Exhaustion and fatigue in the workplace can reduce productivity, reduce moral, and can have additional health implications further down the road. Possible causes of workplace fatigue include lack of sleep (for a variety of reasons), excessive stress, poor quality of sleep, too few days off, and irregular sleeping patterns (such as when performing shift work.

Luckily, steps can be taken to reduce fatigue and exhaustion in the workplace. For employers:

  • Examine scheduling to determine if certain employees may be overworked or are not given sufficient rest-time between shifts
  • Improve regularity of shifts (if applicable)
  • Ensure that employees are taking sufficient breaks during work
  • Provide employees with at least two consecutive days off in which to recover from any sleep deficit that may have accrued

For Employees:

  • Ensure that you are getting to bed at a consistent time and getting between 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night
  • Avoid caffeine before bed and do not eat before bed
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Reduce the time spent on your commute if possible
  • Get enough exercise each day
  • Perform stretching exercises to relax your muscles
  • Alternate work tasks to stimulate your mind and keep yourself engaged
  • Take your breaks

Example Industries:Construction, manufacturing, logistics & transportation, sedentary work (aka “desk jobs”)

These workplace injuries can be reduced, mitigated, or eliminated with a real commitment to improving the conditions of employees on the job. While the tips above are an excellent start, there are certainly other methods out there that might be effective as well. Feel free to share your own tips and tricks for reducing workplace injuries in the comment box below!

Disclaimer

Blackline Safety Corp. published this content on 22 January 2022 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 22 January 2022 01:23:02 UTC.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Give our healthcare heroes our respect and compassion. They’ve earned it | Opinion – Yahoo News

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic nearly two years ago, I was heartened by the outpouring of support for our heroes on the front line: restaurants and community members delivered food; colorful banners popped up at hospital entrances thanking staff and clap outs were common.

I understand that we all have pandemic fatigue, but I have a request: can we all rally again and show our support for our nurses, doctors and teams who continue to put patients first? And let’s start with respect and civility in our hospitals.

Sadly, to better protect staff throughout our 17-hospital system in New Jersey and to create a more healing environment, we recently posted signs in hospitals that warn people that “Aggressive or Disruptive Behavioral Will Not Be Tolerated!’’ These examples are posted on the signs: threats, verbal and physical; use of abusive or foul language; failure to respond to staff instructions and physical assault.

Violence against healthcare workers is not a new phenomenon. However, staff around the country are reporting an increase in verbal and physical abuse as the pandemic continues to upend our lives. As many as 31% of nurses in the U.S. have reported an increase in workplace violence, up from 22% in March 2021, according to a survey taken this summer from the National Nurses United union. In one system in San Diego, verbal and physical abuse of staff has risen 17 percent through September compared to the prior year. Cleveland Clinic is asking visitors to sign a “partnership pledge’’ to be respectful of caregivers and not raise their voices or use profanity when dealing with staff.

More perspective: Nurses get spit on, kicked, assaulted. Stop hurting us. We are here to help you

Our hospitals, too, are experiencing instances of disrespectful and abusive treatment of our staff and too much hostility in a place of healing. Staff is being verbally abused for reminding people of our mask mandate; even asking a simple question like whether a patient or visitor received a COVID vaccine can provoke anger and hostility. I am hearing this routinely from the front lines.

Worn when taking care of COVID-19 patients, personal protective equipment, or PPE, includes gowns, N-95 masks, face shields and gloves.Worn when taking care of COVID-19 patients, personal protective equipment, or PPE, includes gowns, N-95 masks, face shields and gloves.
Worn when taking care of COVID-19 patients, personal protective equipment, or PPE, includes gowns, N-95 masks, face shields and gloves.

“We are partners in care, partners with patients, their families and the community,’’ noted Dr. Joseph Underwood, chair of Emergency Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center. “Foundational to this partnership is mutual respect and basic human decency. When we don’t see that, it degrades the care of patients, can impact outcomes and breaches our trust.’’

Underwood recently recalled a patient yelling at his physician because he would not give the man the treatment he requested. Even though the doctor explained it was not indicated for the patient’s situation, the patient grew belligerent.

Please remember that the nation’s healthcare workforce has been through so much: repeated surges, the death of 850,000 Americans and for many this has resulted in post-traumatic stress. They too have been impacted personally by COVID and the virus has stretched the workforce thin. It’s no surprise that about 1 in 5 U.S. healthcare workers has left the job since the pandemic started. And the next few weeks will be difficult at hospitals throughout the nation: hospitalizations are at 156,000, but more patients are expected because increases in inpatient volume usually lag spikes in overall cases.

We understand that families are frustrated, especially when states restrict visitation in hospitals during surges. This relentless pandemic has stressed families with disruptions in jobs and in-person learning and an uncertain future given the persistence of the virus. Healthcare isn’t the only venue where people are taking out their frustrations: Flight attendants are seeing a historic rise in unruly passengers; 1 in 5 reports being physically threatened. Shoppers have even killed retail workers for enforcing local mask mandates.

Let’s remember who is serving on the front lines. Our health care heroes are selfless and deserve our unwavering gratitude, respect and courtesy. Our nurses and physicians make no judgments. Their mission is clear: provide the best and most compassionate care. Patients are the priority. They will be there in our darkest hour. We will get through this together with mutual respect and compassion.

Dec 15, 2020; Hackensack, NJ, USA; Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health talks about the beginning of the phase 1A vaccination effort, and the first team members to receive the vaccine during a press conference at John Theurer Cancer Center, part of Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ on Tuesday, Dec.15, 2020. Mitsu Yasukawa-USA TODAY NETWORKDec 15, 2020; Hackensack, NJ, USA; Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health talks about the beginning of the phase 1A vaccination effort, and the first team members to receive the vaccine during a press conference at John Theurer Cancer Center, part of Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ on Tuesday, Dec.15, 2020. Mitsu Yasukawa-USA TODAY NETWORK
Dec 15, 2020; Hackensack, NJ, USA; Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health talks about the beginning of the phase 1A vaccination effort, and the first team members to receive the vaccine during a press conference at John Theurer Cancer Center, part of Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ on Tuesday, Dec.15, 2020. Mitsu Yasukawa-USA TODAY NETWORK

Robert C. Garrett is CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest health network with 17 hospitals, more than 500 patient care locations and the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: NJ healthcare heroes need our respect and compassion

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Belize Sugar Industries condemns workplace violence, bans Everaldo Uk from its compound- says he can still deliver his cane – Breaking Belize News

Posted: Friday, January 21, 2022. 5:40 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: Today, the American Sugar Refineries run Belize Sugar Industries (ASR/BSI) condemned an attack made against Corozal Sugar Cane Producers Association (CSCPA) Chairman, Vladimir Puck, and, as a result, has banned Everaldo Uk from its compound.

ASR/BSI categorized the December 27 attack on Puck as “unacceptable,” and stressed that the company has a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence and, therefore, does not
condone nor accept any form of violent behavior on its premises. The company stressed that violence on the premises is prohibited by the rules and regulations governing Tower Hill Mill.

“While individual farmers may be banned, the sanction does not extend to the farmer’s cane, which can be brought in by another person, therefore, allowing the farmer’s livelihood to not be impacted. However, the prohibited individual is not welcome to enter our premises which is important to ensure employees, farmers and other stakeholders feel they are coming to a safe environment,” ASR/BSI said.

The company also said that it is proactively enforcing the ban and will immediately seek legal and law enforcement redress for anyone who attempts to violate it.

Puck was attacked by an angry mob of farmers, one of them wielding a machete allegedly over their expulsion from the CSCPA and being treated instead as independent farmers instead. Uk was found to be at the center of the controversy and was subsequently banned.

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Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Commission proposes protection for front-line health care workers against violent attacks – Southgate News Herald

If the Wayne County Commission has a say in the matter, attacks against front-line health care workers should be a felony.

A resolution by Vice Chairman Joseph Palamara (D-Grosse Ile Township) proposing greater protections for front-line health care workers against violent attacks was unanimously approved Jan. 20 by the full commission.

Palamara said he was shocked and saddened by media reports detailing stories of front-line workers who suffered violent physical workplace attacks or received threats of attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These people are heroes and should be treated as such,” Palamara said. “Every day our front-line health care workers put their lives on the line to keep all of us safe during this pandemic. That even one of these professionals suffers a violent attack for doing so is just unthinkable.”

The resolution proposes making attacks on front-line health care workers a felony, similar to laws in place involving violent attacks against police, firefighters and emergency medical responders.

It cites a report by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that indicates nurses are significantly more likely to experience acts of workplace violence than other private sector employees.

It also notes that 35 states have enacted legislation that increases penalties for those who attack health care workers and calls on the Michigan Legislature to do likewise.

The resolution is in line with a proposal by the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

Copies of the resolution will be sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, state Senate and House leadership and members of the county’s delegation to the legislature.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson signs legislation subjecting elected officials to anti-harassment policy – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Acting Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson signs a resolution making elected officials subject to the city's anti-harassment and workplace violence policy Friday.

Acting Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson on Friday signed legislation making elected and appointed officials subject to the city’s anti-harassment policy more than a year after an investigation into City Attorney Tearman Spencer highlighted elected officials’ exemption from accountability.

“For any person, any employee who were to engage in any unbecoming behavior in the workplace, they should be put on notice that that behavior is totally unacceptable and won’t be tolerated by the city,” Johnson said during a public signing of the legislation in his office.

An investigation into allegations that Spencer harassed female staffers concluded in December 2020 that as an elected official he was not subject to the anti-harassment policy that applies to employees. Spencer has denied wrongdoing.

Ald. Michael Murphy and Ald. JoCasta Zamarripa led the charge on the legislation to change that, with Murphy publicly sparring with Spencer over it.

On Friday, Murphy called the measure “long overdue.”

Murphy said while the legislation was not about any specific person, Spencer’s actions and behavior were the impetus behind it.

“Elected officials should not be exempt from these types of requirements,” Murphy said. “In fact, we should play the leadership role.”

The legislation directs the city’s Department of Employee Relations to update the city’s anti-harassment and workplace violence policy to include elected officials and appointees.

It states that the Department of Employee Relations can hold elected officials accountable up to a written warning. For a higher-level response, the department can defer to a city ordinance that under certain circumstances empowers a majority of the council to “dismiss from office” elected officials and appointees, except justices of the peace.

Department of Employee Relations Director Makda Fessahaye thanked employees who she said came forward to push for legislation like this. 

“I think it’s really important to set an example from the top down, and I look forward to implementing this policy,” she said.

Another piece of legislation requiring ethics and harassment training for elected officials, cabinet members and appointees within 120 days of taking office and every four years after that also gained council approval in November. Former Mayor Tom Barrett signed that measure before leaving office to become ambassador to Luxembourg.

Contact Alison Dirr at 414-224-2383 or adirr@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter @AlisonDirr

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Give our healthcare heroes our respect and compassion. They’ve earned it | Opinion – NorthJersey.com

Robert C. Garrett

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic nearly two years ago, I was heartened by the outpouring of support for our heroes on the front line: restaurants and community members delivered food; colorful banners popped up at hospital entrances thanking staff and clap outs were common. 

I understand that we all have pandemic fatigue, but I have a request: can we all rally again and show our support for our nurses, doctors and teams who continue to put patients first? And let’s start with respect and civility in our hospitals.

Sadly, to better protect staff throughout our 17-hospital system in New Jersey and to create a more healing environment, we recently posted signs in hospitals that warn people that “Aggressive or Disruptive Behavioral Will Not Be Tolerated!’’ These examples are posted on the signs: threats, verbal and physical; use of abusive or foul language; failure to respond to staff instructions and physical assault.

Violence against healthcare workers is not a new phenomenon. However, staff around the country are reporting an increase in verbal and physical abuse as the pandemic continues to upend our lives. As many as 31% of nurses in the U.S. have reported an increase in workplace violence, up from 22% in March 2021, according to a survey taken this summer from the National Nurses United union. In one system in San Diego, verbal and physical abuse of staff has risen 17 percent through September compared to the prior year. Cleveland Clinic is asking visitors to sign a “partnership pledge’’ to be respectful of caregivers and not raise their voices or use profanity when dealing with staff.

More perspective:Nurses get spit on, kicked, assaulted. Stop hurting us. We are here to help you

Our hospitals, too, are experiencing instances of disrespectful and abusive treatment of our staff and too much hostility in a place of healing. Staff is being verbally abused for reminding people of our mask mandate; even asking a simple question like whether a patient or visitor received a COVID vaccine can provoke anger and hostility. I am hearing this routinely from the front lines.

Worn when taking care of COVID-19 patients, personal protective equipment, or PPE, includes gowns, N-95 masks, face shields and gloves.

“We are partners in care, partners with patients, their families and the community,’’ noted Dr. Joseph Underwood, chair of Emergency Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center. “Foundational to this partnership is mutual respect and basic human decency. When we don’t see that, it degrades the care of patients, can impact outcomes and breaches our trust.’’

Underwood recently recalled a patient yelling at his physician because he would not give the man the treatment he requested. Even though the doctor explained it was not indicated for the patient’s situation, the patient grew belligerent.

Please remember that the nation’s healthcare workforce has been through so much: repeated surges, the death of 850,000 Americans and for many this has resulted in post-traumatic stress. They too have been impacted personally by COVID and the virus has stretched the workforce thin. It’s no surprise that about 1 in 5 U.S. healthcare workers has left the job since the pandemic started. And the next few weeks will be difficult at hospitals throughout the nation: hospitalizations are at 156,000, but more patients are expected because increases in inpatient volume usually lag spikes in overall cases.

We understand that families are frustrated, especially when states restrict visitation in hospitals during surges. This relentless pandemic has stressed families with disruptions in jobs and in-person learning and an uncertain future given the persistence of the virus. Healthcare isn’t the only venue where people are taking out their frustrations: Flight attendants are seeing a historic rise in unruly passengers; 1 in 5 reports being physically threatened. Shoppers have even killed retail workers for enforcing local mask mandates. 

Let’s remember who is serving on the front lines. Our health care heroes are selfless and deserve our unwavering gratitude, respect and courtesy. Our nurses and physicians make no judgments. Their mission is clear: provide the best and most compassionate care. Patients are the priority. They will be there in our darkest hour. We will get through this together with mutual respect and compassion. 

Dec 15, 2020; Hackensack, NJ, USA; 
Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health talks about the beginning of the phase 1A vaccination effort, and the first team members to receive the vaccine during a press conference at John Theurer Cancer Center, part of Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, NJ on Tuesday, Dec.15, 2020. Mitsu Yasukawa-USA TODAY NETWORK

Robert C. Garrett is CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest health network with 17 hospitals, more than 500 patient care locations and the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Police service workplace situation requires ‘urgent and immediate’ attention, report says – Ottawa Citizen

Police service workplace situation requires ‘urgent and immediate’ attention, report says

While many study participants said they enjoyed the nature of their job and expressed positive feelings, those sentiments “stood in stark contrast to what we heard from a large number of interviewees, both female and male, racialized and non-racialized, which was troubling.”

The Ottawa Police Service executive, in a presentation and chief’s report set for Monday’s board meeting, lists several of the report's recommendations it “fully agrees with and will help form a critical part of the future state.”
The Ottawa Police Service executive, in a presentation and chief’s report set for Monday’s board meeting, lists several of the report’s recommendations it “fully agrees with and will help form a critical part of the future state.” Photo by Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

Article content

The Ottawa Police Service has pledged to implement a series of recommendations highlighted in a “troubling” report on workplace violence and sexual harassment, the third report in recent years to identify similar problems within its ranks.

Article content

The Rubin Thomlinson assessment and review, which launched in September 2020 and is set to be presented at Monday’s Ottawa Police Services Board meeting, collected interviews from 116 OPS members and concludes the workplace situation “requires urgent and immediate attention.”

While many of the study participants said they enjoyed the nature of their job and expressed positive feelings about OPS, those sentiments “stood in stark contrast to what we heard from a large number of interviewees, both female and male, racialized and non-racialized, which was troubling,” the report states.

“Female interviewees described a state of affairs that included sexual harassment and violence, general mistreatment, unequal career opportunities, and hostility regarding pregnancy and parental leave.

Article content

“Many racialized interviewees reported negative day-to-day experiences, exclusion from OPS culture and mentorship, difficulties in the promotions process and misconceptions regarding hiring decisions and equity, diversity, and inclusion.

“Members experiencing mental health challenges reported negative attitudes from colleagues, a desire for ongoing wellness checks and debriefs, and a dissatisfaction with the lack of communication.”

Many of those interviewed described “a workplace rife with gossip, cliques, and disrespectful behaviour,” the report states.

“Assuming what we were told is true, the totality of what was described to us is in breach of the OPS’s commitment … to provide all its members a respectful workplace that is free from harassment and discrimination.”

Article content

Much of the conduct described in the report has “gone underground,” according to the Rubin Thomlinson report, and has not been reported because “there are profound disincentives for members to come forward to complain.”

The conclusions “should not come as a surprise” to the police or to the board, the report states, acknowledging two other similar reports — a 2016 gender audit and a 2019 diversity audit — that were “consistent with how participants … described some of their workplace experiences. Even the OPS’s latest member engagement survey in 2020 indicated that a significant number of members experienced harassment and discrimination in the workplace.”

The firm was retained in September 2020 to act as an outside third party to investigate workplace complaints and to review and assess the OPS “workplace culture, practices, policies and procedures as they related to workplace harassment and discrimination, to identify any specific systemic issues and gaps that may exist, and to obtain recommendations with respect to best practices to address any such issues.”

Article content

The firm gave credit to OPS for steps it has taken — through its recent audits, inclusion efforts and the creation of various sexual violence and harassment programs and employee resources — and gave credit to the OPS and its executive. Chief Peter Sloly, the firm said, is “sincerely committed to progressive change.”

Those actions, however, “have not gone far enough and have not yet been sufficiently effective to solve the workplace issues it confronts. Based on the experiences that interviewees shared with us, more needs to be done.”

The police service executive, in a presentation and chief’s report set for Monday’s board meeting, listed several of the recommendations it “fully agrees with and will help form a critical part of the future state.”

Article content

Those include creation of a new, independent Office of Workplace Investigations staffed by two lawyers with expertise in employment and labour law and human rights.

An in-house psychologist and other new mental health supports will also be available for police employees.

Other measures include establishing a new Code of Conduct and “call for professionalism,” mandatory training on workplace violence and harassment, diversity and inclusion, and ensuring fairness in promotions and career development.

The police service plan, projected to cost $8.2 million over five years, also recognizes “the need to assess and address the intersectional systemic issues such as racism, gender-based discrimination, homophobia and accommodation.”

Article content

The police service also strengthened its complaint risk management committee during the study period, and that committee will continue to review investigative reports and recommend the “appropriate corrective action plan for Chief (Sloly’s) consideration and approval.”

The OPS will see “significant changes” during 2022, with initial goals to “foster an environment where OPS members can focus on their duties, be productive, contribute daily without the fear of harassment or reprisal; ensure the health and wellness of all OPS members; safeguard an environment where OPS members trust the service and feel supported; regain public trust and confidence in the Service and its members; prioritize public safety by ensuring those that serve the public are both mentally and physically fit.”

ahelmer@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/helmera

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Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: OSHA hits Conn. manufacturer with $236K in fines – Safety.BLR.com

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited PM Engineered Solutions Inc. of Watertown, Connecticut, with 40 serious and 8 other-than-serious violations and is seeking $236,201 in proposed penalties. The agency inspected the metal fabrication company after an employee was electrocuted on July 14, 2021, while repairing a portable water heater.

PM Engineered Solutions lacked safeguards to protect employees against electrocution, according to OSHA, as well as mechanical, chemical, fall, and other electrical hazards. Agency inspectors determined that the company failed to develop procedures to lock out the water heater’s power source during maintenance or provide lockout training to the deceased employee. They also found the company failed to periodically check energy control (lockout/tagout) procedures.

“This employee lost his life due to the employer’s failure to implement required energy control procedures,” Dale Varney, OSHA’s Hartford, Connecticut, area director, said in an agency statement.

“Of equal concern is the broad cross-section of hazards throughout the facility. Left uncorrected, they expose employees to being crushed, caught in moving machine parts, burned, chemical exposures, falling and being unable to exit the workplace promptly in the event of an emergency, such as a fire or explosion.”

Safety and health violations identified by the agency during its inspection of the plant included:

  • 62 instances of inadequately guarded machinery, including mechanical power presses, forges, hydraulic presses, and grinding machinery;
  • Failure to periodically evaluate forklift truck operators’ performance; 
  • Improperly located or designed collection systems for combustible dust;
  • Inadequate, improperly altered, and uninspected powered forklift trucks;
  • Improperly stored or unsecured compressed gas cylinders;
  • Lack of a permit-required confined space program for employees who regularly enter a machine pit;
  • Lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees;
  • Missing or inadequate exit signage;
  • Numerous electrical safety violations, including exposed live electrical parts, uncovered electrical boxes, flexible cords used in lieu of permanent wiring, and material stored in front of electrical panels;
  • Open or unlabeled tanks and containers of hazardous chemicals; and
  • Uninspected damaged and unmarked chain slings.

On August 30, 2021, the agency also cited PM Engineered Solutions for failing to electronically file its annual OSHA 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses for the previous year.

OSHA’s lockout/tagout, powered industrial trucks, and machine guarding standards are among the agency’s top 10 most frequently cited standards. The lockout/tagout standard (29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §1910.147) was cited 1,698 times in fiscal year (FY) 2021; the powered industrial trucks standard (§1910.178) was cited 1,420 times; and the machine guarding standard (§1910.212) was cited 1,113 times.

Bronx hospital cited for workplace violence

OSHA also announced it had cited the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx for a lack of adequate safeguards for employees in the pediatric emergency department of the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore.

The agency reported finding that employees, including assistants, nurses, security personnel, and technicians, were exposed to workplace violence. It cited Montefiore for 1 serious violation under the General Duty Clause, with a proposed penalty of $13,653.

The agency cites instances of workplace violence under the General Duty Clause (§5(a)(1)) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 because the agency has never issued a federal workplace violence prevention standard.

However, OSHA does have a rulemaking for a standard concerning workplace violence in health care and social services, which remains in the prerule stage.

The agency also cited the facility for 2 other-than-serious violations, with $3,902 in proposed penalties, for incomplete, inaccurate, and untimely injury and illness incident reports.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith