Protecting non-English Speaking Workers

OSHA, New Jersey Medical Center Reach Agreement on Violence Prevention

OSHA and one of the nation’s largest public hospitals have resolved litigation by reaching an agreement that requires the center to enhance its efforts to prevent violence in the workplace.

In 2014, OSHA notified the Bergen Regional Medical Center (BRMC) L.P., in Paramus that employees were exposed to hazardous conditions associated with workplace violence and that it had not developed or implemented adequate measures to protect workers from assaults. While OSHA provided BRMC with a framework to better protect employees, a February 2015 agency inspection found BRMC’s workplace violence program to be inadequate in that workplace violence hazards had not been addressed effectively, and in that the workers’ safety and health continued to be jeopardized due to exposure to workplace violence.

“This settlement holds Bergen Regional Medical Center L.P. accountable for ensuring it has an effective workplace violence prevention program that makes employee safety and health paramount,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA regional administrator in New York.

As part of the settlement, BRMC will continue making improvements to its health-care workplace violence prevention program, and OSHA will verify that they are being made. The improvements include maintaining a workplace violence prevention committee that sustains management commitment and union and employee involvement. The effort will include worksite analysis, hazard identification and prevention and/or control, incident reporting and review, safety and health training, and recordkeeping and program evaluation.

Additionally, the employer must consent to and cooperate with OSHA inspections of the BRMC facility, and must continue to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

“BRMC’s settlement will have long-term safety implications for workers at this facility,” said Jeffrey S. Rogoff, regional solicitor in New York.  “The settlement also highlights feasible and necessary workplace violence prevention measures for this facility as well as similar hospitals and health-care providers.”

For information on OSHA’s guidelines for preventing workplace violence in the health-care industry, visit https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hospitals/workplace_violence.html