The Jersey City Medical Center could pay a nearly $175,000 fine from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration after a worker’s fatal fall last year.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
OSHA began its inspection on June 28, 2016, after the JCMC notified them that a worker needed to be hospitalized after falling from a ladder as he changed an overhead ballast in a light fixture, the agency said in a news release issued today.
“This worker’s tragic death was preventable. 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,” Kris Hoffman, the director of OSHA’s Parsippany area office, said in a statement.
“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 worker later died from his injuries on July 17, 2016.
OSHA cited JCMA for a willful violation since the facility required employees to change ballasts without the proper safety training on practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment to prevent hazardous energy release, among other things.
Specifically, the 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.
The proposed penalties for the work-related death are a $174,593 fine.
Mark Rabson, a spokesman for the JCMC, said in an email that the hospital holds safety as a top priority, though declined to get into specifics since the investigation is ongoing.
“The safety of Jersey City Medical Center’s patients, visitors and employees is always our first concern. We adhere to OSHA standards and recommendations. We cannot comment on an active investigation.”
JCMC has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.