June 14, 2017
June 14, 2017
VSEA issued the following press release today:
Vermont State Employees’ Association (VSEA) members working at the Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital (VPCH) in Berlin tell their union that they are pleased the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA) issued citations this week to their employer, directing VPCH management to immediately address the facility’s identified “serious” safety and health issues. VOSHA issued three citations (attached) and fined the VPCH $14,000.
Citation 1 – “The employer did not furnish employment and a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees.”
Citation 2 – “Protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers shall be provided, used and maintained in a sanitary, reliable condition whenever it is necessary by reasons of hazards of process environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact.”
Citation 3 – “The employer shall assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, which necessitate the use of personal protective equipment.”
VOSHA instructs VPCH management to address all citations by
June 27, 2017.
“VSEA did a public records request recently to determine how many assaults took place on VPCH employees from January 2015 to June 2016, and the findings were not good,” explains VSEA President Dave Bellini. “More than 200 assaults on workers with an average of 11 per month. The assaults run the gamut, from a slap, punch or kick to being spit on to having furniture thrown at you. Some even end up with the worker having to be seen by a doctor. This has to end, and hopefully these long-awaited VOSHA citations will help cut down on the high number of employee assaults at the VPCH. This situation, and others across Vermont, are why VSEA will never stop fighting for stronger safety and security protections for our members. VSEA members working at VPCH look forward to assisting management in any way they can to make sure these serious VOSHA citations are adequately addressed–and in a timely manner.”
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