Hazards at Federal Detention Facility Lead To Fines for Security Firm

Workplace health hazards mostly involving the exposure of contract security guards to bloodborne and other potentially infectious materials resulted in $132,750 in proposed fines for a Houston-based firm.

The company provides security staff to a federal detention facility in Batavia, N.Y.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited the Barbosa Group Inc. for alleged serious and willful violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia. The company has until May 24 to contest the citations.

According to Chris Adams, OSHA's acting area director for Buffalo, the area office conducted an inspection from Nov. 19, 2001 to May 2, 2002 as a result of a complaint regarding employee exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials. The company was cited for violations of 29 CFR 1910.1030, Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens.

The Barbosa Group was cited for the following alleged serious violations:

  • Failing to establish a written exposure control plan to eliminate or minimize employee exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials;
  • Failing to provide employees with training regarding procedures to follow in the case of an exposure incident, including the method of reporting the incident or the medical follow-up that would be made available.

The Barbosa Group also was cited for the following alleged willful violations:

  • Failing to make the hepatitis B vaccination available to employees who had occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials;
  • Failing to immediately make available a confidential medical evaluation or follow-up to an exposed employee following a report of an exposure incident.

A serious violation is defined as a condition where there is a substantial possibility that death or serious physical harm can result to an employee. A willful violation is defined by OSHA as one committed with intentional disregard for, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the OSHA act and regulations.

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