Plattsmouth Manor Cited for Alleged Safety and Health Violations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has struck another bullseye with its Site-Specific Targeting Program. The agency alleges a Plattsmouth, Neb., nursing home failed to protect employees from safety and health hazards.

OSHA initiated a comprehensive inspection at Plattsmouth Manor in December, according to OSHA Regional Administrator Charles E. Adkins, CIH. Citations were issued for six alleged serious and six repeat violations, with a proposed penalty of $108,500.

The alleged serious violations are for improper use of flexible electrical cords; improper storage of compressed gas (oxygen); failure to ensure that a radial arm saw met the requirements of the standard; failure to provide proper personal protective equipment; and failure to ensure that employees requiring the Hepatitis B vaccine also received the titration test.

The alleged repeat violations are for the employer's failure to ensure that rooms are kept clean, orderly and in a sanitary condition; failure to ensure that an emergency eyewash is in the area of corrosive chemical use; failure to ensure that live electrical parts are guarded against contact; failure to ensure that electrical fixtures are approved for wet/damp locations; a flexible cord run through a doorway; and failure to have employees who declined the Hepatitis B vaccine sign a declination sheet.

OSHA defines a serious violation as one in which there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition, and that the employer knew or should have known of the hazard. Repeat violations are previously cited standards against a company which again are observed as violated.

Plattsmouth Manor, which is owned and operated by Beverly Healthcare, has 15 working days from receipt of the citations to comply with them, hold an informal conference with the OSHA area director or contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, said Adkins.

Beverly Enterprises Inc., one of the nation's largest nursing home operators, agreed to adopt specific measures to reduce back injuries for employees involved in lifting nursing home residents as part of a settlement agreement announced Jan. 15 by OSHA. The company has also agreed to establish a training program and purchase mechanical lift equipment. The settlement applies to all Beverly Enterprises facilities within federal OSHA jurisdiction.

That agreement settled citations issued by OSHA to five Pennsylvania nursing homes following a 15-month investigation that began in May 1991 in response to complaints that workers were suffering back injuries related to lifting and transferring residents. The agency found that the company's injury and illness records revealed numerous musculoskeletal injuries sustained by nursing assistants that resulted in extensive lost work time and restricted work duty.

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