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Work-related accident rate high at New York hospital

Although many accidents in the workplace are caused by slips, trips, falls and strains, an increasing number of injuries are caused by violence. Most of these - 75 out of 114 incidents since 2012 - took place in healthcare settings, particularly hospitals. The situation has gotten so out of control that New York hospital Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center was recently fined $78,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after patients and visitors assaulted dozens of employees.

At this particular hospital, there were 40 incidents of violence inflicted onto employees in just a two-month period - from February to April 2014. The most extreme cases led to brain injury in one nurse after a patent kicked her in the head. Brookdale was fined $70,000 for violating workplace safety violations and $8,000 for improper reporting procedures.

At nearly seven work-related accidents per 100 full-time employees, hospitals are now considered one of the most dangerous places to work. This rate is even higher than the manufacturing and construction industries. Of the 75 acts of violence in a healthcare setting, 15 have resulted in an OSHA citation and 31 have resulted in a hazard alert letter.

Doctors, nurses and others who work extensively with the public face a high risk of workplace violence. Although it is impossible to predict when violence may occur, there are steps that employers can take to prevent a workplace accident. There should be specific plans and procedures in place to protect employees. In addition, all threats should be taken seriously; it's better to be safe than sorry. Employers should also perform extensive background checks on prospective employees and refrain from hiring those with a criminal history.

Source: Modern Healthcare, "OSHA fines New York hospital over workplace violence," Bob Herman, Aug. 12, 2014

Source: Modern Healthcare, "OSHA fines New York hospital over workplace violence," Bob Herman, Aug. 12, 2014

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