The largest privately owned nursing facility in New Jersey has come under fire for failing to protect its workers from some of its more violent patients. From February through June of this year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recorded eight incidents at Bergen Regional Hospital in which nurses working in the facility were exposed to especially violent patients. As initially reported by NJ.com, the employees who had filed complaints earlier were bruised, cut and threatened by residents under their care. In some situations employees were locked in patient’s rooms, bitten, punched and exposed to blood-borne pathogens. As a result, OSHA cited the hospital on August 18 in over $13,000 in fines for failing to adequately protect their staff.
A spokesperson for OSHA stated, “With so many incidents, it’s clear that this facility’s workplace violence program is ineffective.” However, Bergen Regional Hospital believes that the violence is inherent to the situation. “Caring for patients whose disease makes their actions unpredictable is challenging, as all healthcare workers understand,” a spokesperson said. A private conference has been requested by the negligent hospital to review the citations and potentially reduce or remove them altogether.
With that understood, employee safety should be the highest concern of any company. If you have been exposed to especially dangerous conditions or injured as a result, you may be able to pursue damages against the responsible party or employer. For more information on workers’ compensation and workplace injuries, contact Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari, at (973) 635-5400 to schedule a consultation.