An administrative law judge (ALJ) with the OSHA Review Commission affirmed all citations given to Jersey City Medical Center in 2016.
In 2016, OSHA investigated and subsequently issued one willful and four serious safety violations. They also proposed $174,593 in penalties.
Both the citations and penalties were affirmed by the ALJ this year.
While the incident occurred in 2016, the hearing took place in April 2018. The decision was finally issued by Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in June 2019.
In June 2016, a maintenance worker was changing ballasts on a light fixture. He received an electrical shock and fell about six feet to the floor. The worker died of his injuries in the hospital less than one month later.
OSHA investigators found the employer required employees to change ballasts but failed to provide lockout/tagout training that covered safety-related work practices for that hazardous work.
The employer failed to ensure the circuits were de-energized and locked out.
No electrical lockout/tag out program was maintained.
Proper PPE was not provided or used on the job.
It is imperative that employers properly train and qualify electrical workers for any electrical task. As in this case, employees who are not properly educated about the hazards of working on or near electrical circuits can face dire consequences when allowed or assigned to work on these types of circuits. Employers must ensure that these employees are qualified for the task at hand. They must provided all necessary electrical safety PPE . This policy simply cannot be short-circuited, and when it is, lives are literally at risk.