OSHA cited Healthcare Services Group (HCSG) of South Windsor, Conn., for failing to protect workers from bloodborne pathogens exposure.
HCSG, a service company providing housekeeping, laundry and general labor services, mostly to nursing homes, faces a fine totaling $87,400.
The company, which employs 13,000 workers nationwide, has 10 employees on site at the Roncalli South Windsor nursing home where OSHA conducted an inspection between March 24 and Sept. 5.
"The most serious deficiencies we found have to do with the exposure of employees to bloodborne pathogens without having the proper safeguards in place," said Thomas Guilmartin, OSHA area director for northern Connecticut. "Workers providing laundry and cleaning services in nursing homes are often exposed to blood and other bodily fluids, so employers of such workers should be well aware of the precautions which must be taken to limit such exposure."
Guilmartin noted that the HCSG corporate office, with nationwide operations, has produced a comprehensive bloodborne pathogens exposure control plan for implementation by its affiliates across the country.
"Unfortunately," he said, "in the case of the HCSG staff at the Roncalli South Windsor nursing home, the practical execution of this exposure control plan was sadly lacking."
Specifically, HCSG is being cited for the following violations:
- Failing to provide employees with the hepatitis B vaccination within 10 days of an employee assuming their duties, and failing to have employees declining the hepatitis B vaccination sign a declination form.
- Failing to maintain a schedule and method of implementation in the exposure control plan, failing to have a sharps container located in the laundry, failing to have the names and qualifications of trainers for bloodborne pathogens on records of training, and failing to maintain employee training records for three years.
- A blocked exit in the laundry, use of a pedestal fan in the laundry not listed or labeled for industrial use, and for failing to transport blood and body fluid contaminated laundry in a labeled bag.
by Virginia Sutcliffe