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Feds: Bergen Regional Exposed Workers To Violent Patients

OSHA called BRMC's violence program "ineffective."
OSHA called BRMC's violence program "ineffective." Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT

PARAMUS, N.J. -- OSHA officials have accused Bergen Regional Medical Center of failing to protect employees from violent patients, citing eight incidents in a three-month period last year.

In one case a nurse was cut and bruised trying to rescue a patient being attacked by another, OSHA said.

“With so many incidents, it’s clear that this facility’s workplace violence program is ineffective and should be improved immediately to protect employees and ensure a safe workplace,” Lisa Levy, director of OSHA's Hasbrouck Heights Area Office, said this morning.

Although she conceded that BRMC management "recognized workplace hazards," Levy said they "lacked adequate procedures to prevent employee exposure.”

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration discovered the violent incidents from Feb. 22, 2015, through June 1 while investigating a worker's complaint, the director said.

These include patients barricading workers in a room, biting, punching and kicking them and threatening patients, she said.

Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco appointed a task force to help determine what to do with the county-operated hospital - one of the largest hospitals and licensed nursing homes in the U.S. -- once its 19-year private company lease expires in March 2017.

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