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Injured on the job: Hospital committed 15 safety violations

Health care workers in medical facilities nationwide, including in Pennsylvania, have to face multiple safety hazards on a daily basis. A hospital in another state was the subject of an inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that started in Sept. 2015 and ended in Feb. 2016. Inspectors determined that the employers showed total disregard to the potential of workers being injured on the job.

In addition to the obvious exposure to contamination and blood borne pathogens that is a typical threat in such facilities, inspectors found multiple other unsafe areas. These included a table saw with inadequate safety mechanisms, unguarded pulleys, shafts and belts along with acetylene and oxygen cylinders without valve caps. There was also no safety protocol in place related to the management of contaminated needles.

 The agency issued 15 safety violations which were reportedlyaddressed by the hospital immediately. OSHA said changes to ensure compliance involved staff education, policy changes, new signage and several changes to ensure a safe work environment. An area director of OSHA said that indifference to worker safety will not be tolerated.

Pennsylvania workers who are injured on the job may have to face high medical costs, and if their injuries cause time away from work, the financial impact may be substantial. Fortunately, the workers' compensation insurance coverage that employers must provide typically provides financial relief. Injured workers may pursue such compensation by filing benefits claims with the insurance program. The benefits typically provide coverage for all medical expenses related to the workplace injury, along with a percentage of lost wages.

Source: arkansasonline.com, "OSHA cites VA hospital in Little Rock with 15 safety violations", Brandon Mulder, March 25, 2016

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