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OSHA gives Brigham & Women's list to improve safety

A year after a beloved doctor was shot and killed inside Boston's  Brigham and Women's Hospital, some staffers continue to have big concerns about workplace safety.

BOSTON — "If the nurses aren't safe, no one is safe. Patients aren't safe. Visitors aren't safe. No one is safe," said Trish Power.

FOX25 Investigates has learned federal safety officials from OSHA have issued the hospital a Hazard Alert letter,

and there's a long list of ways investigators said the hospital can improve safety. 

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Powers said that her opinion is based on her 24 years of experience of working as a nurse at Boston Brigham and Women's Hospital. She said little has changed in the 12 months since a doctor was killed.

"In fact, I feel less secure," said Powers. 

Dr. Michael Davidson was a cardiac surgeon. In January 2015, a gunman walked into the hospital and asked for Dr. Davidson. The shooter shot the doctor and then turned the gun on himself.

"They could have set an example of how you should do hospital security...since the shooting in January of last year, we've actually had more nurses physically assaulted this year probably than ever," said Powers.

Powers, who is also the bargaining chair for the Massachusetts Nurses Association, brought her concerns to OSHA.

Following an inspection, OSHA issued a Hazard Alert letter to the hospital in December. 

They letter said the hospital does not violate any standards and it acknowledged the programs BWH has programs in place to address workplace violence.  But the letter stated employees exposure to workplace violence is "ongoing".

It listed

14 recommendations

to decrease that threat, including ensuring doors are locked after business hours and card access equipment is operational. It also suggested metal detectors to keep weapons out and called for improved security staffing and better training.

"The day of the shooting most people were asked to shelter in place, most people had no idea what shelter in place meant," said Powers. 

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Brigham and women's hospital declined to speak on camera. A spokesperson emailed a statement saying,

“The safety of our patients, their families, and our staff is our top priority. We have worked extensively and in good faith with the nursing union to address their concerns and regret that they are exploiting the anniversary of the death of our beloved colleague in this way. We have and will continue to evolve our safety and security protocols in keeping with national best practice.”

The nurses union said the death of Dr. Davidson was a tragedy which they say only highlighted security shortfalls at the hospital.

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“Nothing is more important to the nurses at Brigham & Women’s Hospital than the safety of our patients and colleagues. Dr. Davidson’s death one year ago was a horrific tragedy, and it illuminated security shortfalls at the hospital. Brigham nurses have seen repeated violent incidents since the shooting last January and we believe our comprehensive, common-sense security proposals will protect everyone at the Brigham. Until state lawmakers require all Massachusetts hospitals to implement effective workplace violence initiatives, as proposed by the MNA, Brigham nurses will continue to fight for the safety of their hospital," said Massachusetts Nurses Association Committee at Brigham & Women’s Hospital.