OSHA investigation of Jersey City Medical Center worker's fatal fall finds facility exposed employees to dangerous electrical hazards

Publish By: osha.gov
Date Published: 2017-01-03
Resource Link: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=33612
Employer name:
Jersey City Medical Center RWJ Barnabas Health
Inspection site:
355 Grand St.
Jersey City, New Jersey

Citations issued: On Dec. 21, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to the medical center for one willful and four serious safety violations.

Investigation findings: OSHA began its inspection on June 28, 2016, after the employer notified the Agency that a worker needed to be hospitalized after falling from a ladder as he changed an overhead ballast in a light fixture. The worker later died from his injuries on July 17, 2016.

The agency cited the willful violation because the facility required employees to change ballasts without the proper lockout/tagout training on practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment to prevent hazardous energy release, as well as other safety hazards and related unsafe practices.

The serious 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.

Quote: "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. 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," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office.

Proposed penalties: $174,593

The citation can be viewed at: https://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/JerseyCityMedicalCenter_1158589.pdf

The employer 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.