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OSHA USES SEARCH WARRANT TO ENTER AND INSPECT LOCAL NURSING HOME

 OSHA USES SEARCH WARRANT TO ENTER AND INSPECT LOCAL NURSING HOME
 CAMP HILL, Pa., Aug. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Armed with a federal search warrant, compliance officers from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) today entered the Blue Ridge Haven West (BRHW) nursing home to probe high injury rates of workers.
 This was in response to a complaint filed by the Pennsylvania Social Services Union (PSSU), according to union Business Agent Tom Herman. He said the two OSHA officers will be looking for the cause of injury rates that reached 41.6 percent in 1991.
 PSSU, which is Local 668, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), AFL-CIO, represents 180 nursing aides, housekeepers, dietary aides and laundry and maintenance workers at the facility at 770 Poplar Church Road.
 "Workers at the facility have experienced an astronomical number of back injuries over the past several years," Herman said.
 The national average rate of injury in nursing homes is almost 16 percent compared to less than 9 percent in other occupations. The injury rate at BRHW is twice that of the national nursing home average, the union stated.
 Herman said causes of this high rate include low staffing, faulty or missing equipment and inappropriate treatment of injured workers. Besides back injuries, shoulder, arm and leg injuries are also on the increase, he said.
 Beverly Enterprises, which owns Blue Ridge Haven West, has already been cited by OSHA four times in the past year regarding serious injuries in other Pennsylvania nursing homes.
 Beverly Enterprises, the largest for-profit nursing home chain in the United States, has so far refused to accept responsibility for the injuries or to correct the hazards that OSHA has cited, Herman added.
 "The record shows Beverly Enterprises knows what causes the injuries and still refuses to make changes that will keep residents and workers safe," he said.
 "Workers hope this fifth inspection of a Beverly facility in Pennsylvania will push the employer to address this horrendous epidemic of injuries," he said.
 Herman said the OSHA inspection will include inspection of training programs and other documents as well as interviews with residents, workers, management and videotaping where it feels this is warranted.
 /delval/
 -0- 8/5/92
 /Editors: The local OSHA is at 49 N. Progress Ave., Harrisburg, Pa., 717-782-3902. The BRHW number is 717-763-7070./
 /CONTACT: Tom Herman of PSSU, 717-234-4113/ CO: Occupational Safety & Health Administration; Blue Ridge Haven
 West; Pennsylvania Social Services Union; Beverly Enterprises ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


MK-CC -- PH023 -- 7116 08/05/92 12:55 EDT
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Date:Aug 5, 1992
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