Nov. 17, 2015
OSHA issues notices to Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center for
exposing workers to an unsafe workplace
Employer name: The Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 1201 Broad Rock Blvd. in Richmond, Virginia.
Notices issued: On Nov. 6, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued notices to the medical center after identifying four willful, two serious, and eight other-than-serious safety violations.
Investigation findings: On May 6, 2015, OSHA initiated its inspection in response to a complaint alleging inadequate protections for employees exposed to workplace violence hazards while providing patient care.
The willful violations involved the medical center exposing employees to workplace violence and physical assault, failing to train employees on the prevention and management of workplace violence, and failing to properly record workplace injuries and illnesses on OSHA 300 logs.
Supervisors and employees were not trained on recordkeeping, resulting in the serious violations. The other-than-serious violations all related to recordkeeping deficiencies.
The employer has 15 business days from receipt of the notices to comply or request an informal conference with OSHA's area director.
The Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center has been inspected six times since 1992. Four of those inspections resulted in notices, including in 2009 when the facility received notices for recordkeeping deficiencies. Nationwide within the past five years, 16 inspections of VA facilities resulted in notices issued for recordkeeping deficiencies, three of which were classified as repeat.
This is the third time in recent months that OSHA has issued notices related to workplace violence to a Veterans Affairs medical facility. Both the El Paso VA Health Care System and the Atlanta VA Medical Center were cited earlier this year for exposing employees to workplace violence and other hazards.
Quote: "The safety hazards identified at this facility demonstrate a need for a renewed commitment by the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide a safe workplace for the VA employees who care for our nation's service members, veterans, their families and survivors," said Stanley J. Dutko Jr., OSHA's area director in Norfolk. "All employers, including federal employers, are responsible for evaluating and determining the extent to which employees may be exposed to physical assault or other forms of workplace violence and taking the appropriate actions to eliminate or minimize that exposure. Every employer is responsible for ensuring their workplaces are safe and healthy for all employees."
As required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, federal agencies must comply with the same health and safety standards as private sector employers. The federal agency equivalent of a private sector citation is the notice of an unhealthful or unsafe working condition, which informs agency officials of violations. OSHA cannot propose monetary penalties against another federal agency for failure to comply with its standards.
To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint; or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Norfolk Area Office at 757-441-3820.
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Release Number: 15-2190-PHI (osha 15-107)
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