FAIRBORN, Ohio -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Covenant Care Ohio Inc., which operates the Wright Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Fairborn, with 17 alleged health and safety violations for failing to train workers who care for nursing home residents on bloodborne pathogen hazards and provide a written exposure control plan. The December 2012 inspection, conducted under OSHA's nursing home initiative in response to a complaint, resulted in proposed penalties of $46,000.
'Companies that operate care facilities with the potential to expose employees to bloodborne pathogens have a responsibility to conduct the proper training in procedures to protect workers and clients from biological hazards,' said Bill Wilkerson, OSHA's area director in Cincinnati. 'Employers must train their workers to recognize hazards that exist in their workplace and in appropriate response procedures.'
Thirteen serious violations of OSHA's bloodborne pathogens standards were cited, including not providing a confidential medical evaluation and follow-up for an employee needle stick injury; lack of employee training; not maintaining the confidentiality of employee medical records; failing to consider safe needle devices in the annual review of the exposure control plan; and failing to provide the hepatitis B vaccination series to employees. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Four other-than-serious violations were also cited at the facility, including lack of record-keeping, not providing an emergency eyewash station and two violations of hazard communication standards. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
More information on bloodborne pathogens and needlestick prevention is available at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/bloodbornepathogens/index.html.
Covenant Care Inc., based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., operates skilled nursing care and assisted living centers in California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada and Ohio. The company has 15 days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the finding before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This was the first OSHA inspection at the Fairborn health care facility.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Cincinnati Area Office at 513-841-4132.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.