OSHA citations: A duty to address serious hazards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued five "general duty" clause citations against hospitals in Fiscal Year 2013, based on a provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act that requires employers to provide a workplace "free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm."
1. Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH. A fence around a construction project blocked about 200 feet of sidewalk, and there were no signs directing pedestrians to the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street. Employees were exposed to the risk of being struck by traffic while walking in the street around the construction zone.
2. St. Mary’s Good Samaritan, Mount Vernon, IL. Employees were operating lift gates behind box trucks that were not secured by parking brakes, wheel chocks or other methods. They were exposed to the hazard of being caught in-between or crushed by the trucks.
3. Armstrong County Memorial Hospital, Kittanning, PA. OSHA cited the employer for exposing employees in the behavioral health unit to the hazard of workplace assault. The inspection was triggered by a complaint. The hospital contested the citation and said in a statement that it already has put measures in place to reduce the risk of workplace violence.
4. Emerson Hospital, Concord, MA. Two employees "were exposed to the hazard of falling while using a step ladder in a closed position."
5. New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY. Wipe samples indicated that work surfaces at a data entry station next to a biological safety cabinet were contaminated with Ifosfamide, an anti-neoplastic drug. The hazard of dermal contact "may lead to the development of cancer, impaired fertility, and organ damage," OSHA said.