On January 11th, 2017, the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to Pennsylvania-based healthcare provider, BNC Northwest Psychiatric Hospital LLC, doing business as Brooke Glen Behavioral Hospital, for multiple violations at their Fort Washington facility. These citations included four serious violations including the lack of bloodborne pathogen training. The proposed penalty for these violations is $32,158.
A July 11th, 2016 investigation, conducted by OSHA, revealed that employees at Brooke Glen were exposed to a variety of hazards involving workplace violence. It was determined by OSHA that a number of incidents, including employees being punched, bitten, scratched, grabbed, and hit with objects, had taken place. In some cases, these incidents resulted in serious employee injury. Further violations included:
- Failure to provide restroom access for employees
- Failure to provide personal protective equipment
- Failure to establish a comprehensive bloodborne pathogen training program
For those violations involving workplace violence, OSHA has cited Brooke Glen Hospital under the General Duty Clause.
OSHA Allentown area director, Jean Kulp, said, “Documented reports of violent incidents at this hospital reflect a lax approach to workplace safety. The hospital must take immediate action and put in place effective measures, so that the hospital’s employees can work safely.”
Among the most egregious of violations in the general industry workplace are those of workplace violence. According to OSHA, “Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” Nearly 2 million employees experience workplace violence annually and many more cases go unreported.
Hazardous chemical exposure, including bloodborne pathogens, is often an avoidable violation. One implement that safety leaders can utilize, easily, is protective equipment. Though, the fitting and maintenance of said equipment requires periodic attention and training. Employers would be well-served to take advantage of bloodborne pathogen training via an online training-course in HAZWOPER compliance, to that end.