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OSHA cites medical center after worker’s death

OSHA cites medical center after worker’s death

A New Jersey medical center is facing $174,593 in proposed fines from federal workplace safety regulators after an employee was fatally injured in a fall. 

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued one willful and four serious safety violations to Jersey City, New Jersey-based Jersey City Medical Center RWJ Barnabas Health following a June inspection triggered when the employer notified the agency that a worker was hospitalized after falling from a ladder, the agency said Tuesday in a statement.

The worker, who fell after receiving an electrical shock as he changed an overhead ballast in a light fixture, died from his injuries in July.

The agency issued the willful violation because the facility required employees to change ballasts without the proper lockout/tagout training on practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment to prevent hazardous energy release, as well as other safety hazards and related unsafe practices, according to the release. 

The serious violations involved the medical center’s failure to ensure de-energized circuits were locked out, maintain an electrical lockout/tagout program, ensure that only qualified persons worked on live circuits, provide personal protective equipment and ensure workers did not work on live parts.

“This worker’s tragic death was preventable,” Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA’s Parsippany, New Jersey, area office, said in the statement. “Jersey City Medical Center did not have basic lockout/tagout safeguards in place to prevent exposure to electrical hazards, and failed to train its maintenance workers on these safeguards. As a result, the worker sustained an electrical shock while changing the ballast, fell approximately 6 feet off a ladder and died from his injuries.”

“The safety of Jersey City Medical Center’s patients, visitors and employees is always our first concern,” Mark Rabson, spokesperson for the medical center, said in an emailed statement. “We adhere to OSHA standards and recommendations. We cannot comment on an active investigation.” 



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