Union files OSHA complaint against New Jersey hospital, nursing home over protective equipment

The Healthcare Professionals and Allied Employees has filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration alleging a New Jersey hospital and nursing home failed to adequately protect workers from COVID-19, NJ.com reported.

The union filed the complaint on behalf of more than 1,000 workers at North Bergen, N.J.-based Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center and The Harborage nursing home, located adjacent to the hospital, according to the website, which cites the complaint.

The union contends the hospital is putting employees at risk and that Palisades Medical's failure to provide personal protective equipment contributed to the March 26 death of Alfredo Pabatao, a medical transporter at the hospital.

"Scores of Palisades and Harborage employees are sick right now, with some members recuperating at home and others hospitalized as a result of uncontrolled exposures to COVID-19 at these worksites throughout February, March and April of 2020," the OSHA complaint states. "COVID-19 infected employees risk permanent heart, lung, and renal failure, as well as death."

The union recently recognized a number of healthcare workers at New Jersey facilities, including Mr. Pabatao, who have died from COVID-19.

In a statement provided to Becker's Hospital Review, Palisades Medical Center President and Chief Hospital Executive Anthony J. Passannante, MD, also recognized those who have died, and pushed back against the union's claims.

"We are saddened by the loss of lives during this awful pandemic and extend our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the families and loved ones of those who have passed," he said. 

"The union's claims are incorrect," he added. "The safety and wellbeing of our team members and patients has always been and will continue to be our primary concern. We have policies and procedures in place to protect our team members and patients that are all in accordance with CDC guidelines. The current global healthcare crisis does not negate their importance. We will continue to provide a safe work environment for our team members so they can provide the best possible care for our patients and the communities we serve."

Read the full NJ.com report here


More articles on human resources:
Workers at 40 Illinois nursing homes set to strike May 8
Ohio State nurses file OSHA complaint over PPE
New York nurses union sues state, hospitals alleging dangerous working conditions

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