We all know that as workers, we are not expected to be victims of workplace violence or other hazards. Thanks to the law that is in action, a lot of employees, clients, customers and visitors are protected from such risks. There are certain OSHA standards that relate to both violence and hazards, and they have been recently overviewed and put to action in Pennsylvania, as this OSHA report details.
The inspection began when a couple of employees signed a complaint against a hospital in Pennsylvania where they worked, alleging that they were exposed to workplace violence and were not provided with clear access to restrooms. Even though this complaint did not seem too serious to many people in the beginning, OSHA took it into consideration and began investigating whether the claims were true or not.
According to the OSH Act’s General Duty Clause, exposing employees to hazardous workplace violence is a subject to various penalties and fines – and that is what the results showed after the investigation was over. It was found that there were many incidents where employees were being punched, bit, scratched, grabbed and hit with objects – all resulting in serious injuries and trauma on their side.
In addition to these shocking claims that were later proven as true, the employer had failed to provide protective equipment for his employees nor had he allowed them proper bathroom access. On top of that, there was no comprehensive bloodborne pathogen program that made sure that every employee is safe and continuously tested in the workplace. This is of course a grievous issue that should have been looked into immediately.
According to OSHA’s director Jean Kulp, “The 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.”
This resulted in a penalty of $32,158 with 15 business days for the hospital to comply, request a conference or contest the findings. The main takeaway here is obvious – reports can work and initiate an investigation, and every single employee should consider them if they feel their work situation has been compromised in one way or another. It is of vital importance that you secure your workplace, that the rules are followed according to those set out by OSHA and the EPA, and that said rules are in compliance and up to date.