The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed fines totaling more than $170K against the Jersey City Medical Center (JCMC) in New Jersey following a tragic worker death last summer.
According to OSHA, the worker was changing an overhead ballast in a light fixture without proper safeguards when he suffered an electrical shock and fall off a ladder. OSHA has ruled the JCMC’s violations as both “willful” and “serious,” proposing fines of $174,593. The worker fell nearly six feet from the ladder and died from his injuries on July 17.
“This worker’s tragic death was preventable,” Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA’s Parsippany, N.J., office, said in a recent statement about the incident.
The statement continued to state how OSHA first began its inspection on June 26, 2016, and noted the hospital’s multiple safety failures, including failure to provide proper training to workers changing ballasts and failure to ensure only qualified employees worked on live circuits.
JCMC, which joined the RWJBarnabas health system back in 2014, was found responsible for several other unsafe practices, but refused to comment on the pending investigation.
“The safety of Jersey City Medical Center’s patients, visitors and employees is always our first concern,” said JCMC spokesman Mark Rabson in a statement to NJ.com. “We adhere to OSHA standards and recommendations.”
In order to remedy the hospital’s many citations, JCMC must either comply or contest OSHA’s findings within 15 days from the receipt of the violations.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are required to provide a safe, healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA’s job is to ensure these conditions for all of America’s workers by setting and enforcing safety standards, while providing training, education and assistance to Americans.