OSHA began an inspection of Jersey City Medical Center RWJ Barnabas Health in Jersey City, N.J. 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.
On Dec. 21, 2016, OSHA issued citations to the medical center for one alleged willful and four alleged serious safety violations and proposed penalties of $174,593.
"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.
The willful violation was issued because the facility allegedly 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 alleged 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 employer has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with Hoffman or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.