The following statement can be attributed to HPAE First Vice-President Barbara Rosen
This action by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the first citation of its kind nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. And it confirms what we’ve known all along, based upon what healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic have been telling us during a highly infectious and deadly viral disease outbreak.
OSHA’s investigation of our complaints at HMH Harborage found that healthcare workers at this facility (and our members at the adjacent HMH Palisades Medical Center) were exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, that they were not fit-tested for personal protective equipment (PPE) and were not trained how to properly wear and store PPE. As a result of this callous conduct by Hackensack Meridian Health, healthcare workers, including HPAE members, were exposed to the virus, became infected and sickened by the virus. At least two HPAE members died.
HPAE has pending OSHA complaints at several other HMH facilities, including at HMH Palisades and the Jersey Shore University Medical Center.
Far beyond the citations and the $28,070.00 fine that OSHA has levied against HMH for its abhorrent behavior at Harborage is the fact that we still need HMH to establish verifiable safety protocols for healthcare workers to work safely without getting infected, constructively engage with HPAE and its members on how to properly and safely navigate COVID-19 care of patients and the various intersecting tragedies and issues that continue to attend to this pandemic.
Fore more information, contact: Michael Allen, (646) 436-7556