National News Release USDL 02-34
Tuesday, January 15, 2002
Contact: Frank Meilinger
Phone: (202) 693-1999
Nursing Home Company Settles Case
Beverly Adopts Ergonomic Measures To Reduce Back Injuries
WASHINGTON- Beverly Enterprises, Inc., one of the nation's largest nursing home operators, will adopt specific measures to reduce back injuries for employees involved in lifting nursing home residents, as part of a settlement agreement announced today by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The company has also agreed to establish a training program and purchase mechanical lift equipment. The settlement applies to all Beverly Enterprises facilities within federal OSHA jurisdiction.
"After years and years of litigation, we are pleased to resolve this matter and move forward with steps to eliminate hazards and better protect the employees of Beverly Enterprises," said Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
The agreement settles citations issued by OSHA to five Pennsylvania nursing homes following a 15-month investigation that began in May 1991 in response to complaints that workers were suffering back injuries related to lifting and transferring residents. The agency found that the company's injury and illness records revealed numerous musculoskeletal injuries sustained by nursing assistants that resulted in extensive lost work time and restricted work duty.
"This agreement represents a major commitment to eliminate serious injuries and provide these employees the needed protection," said OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw. "The company has agreed to implement these new changes not only at the Pennsylvania facilities but also at all locations within federal OSHA jurisdiction."
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), District Local 1199P and Local 668, which represent workers at the Pennsylvania facilities, also signed the settlement agreement.
Under terms of the settlement agreement, Beverly agreed to withdraw its contest of the citations and OSHA agreed to withdraw the proposed penalties.
Beverly Enterprises, Inc., headquartered in Ft. Smith, Ark., is one of the largest nursing home operators in the U.S. The company currently operates approximately 240 nursing homes that are covered by this settlement. The cited facilities involved in this agreement are Carpenter Care Center in Tunkhannock, Pa.; Blue Ridge Haven Convalescent Center (d/b/a West Shore Health and Rehabilitation Center) in Camp Hill, Pa.; Beverly Manor of Monroeville in Monroeville, Pa.; Meyersdale Manor in Meyersdale, Pa.; and Richland Manor in Johnstown, Pa.
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