OSHA found that Lifefleet LLC did not safeguard emergency ambulance workers from the dangers of disease and infection.
The North Lima, Ohio medical transport company didn’t protect employees who transport patients from exposure to blood and other bodily fluids. Such exposure may lead to serious diseases, such as hepatitis or human immunodeficiency.
After a complaint prompted a February investigation, OSHA on July 31 cited the company for four willful, seven serious and three other-than-serious health violations and issued fines of $235,800.
“Workers risking exposure to bloodborne pathogens must have clean clothing, personal protective equipment and be medically evaluated when an exposure occurs,” said Howard Eberts, OSHA’s area director in Cleveland. “Failing to protect workers from pathogens that can cause life-threatening diseases is unacceptable. As a medical service provider, Lifefleet should be setting the standard in employee protection - not ignoring it.”
In its inspection, OSHA found that Lifefleet: didn’t clean, launder or dispose of personal protective equipment and clothing at no cost to employees; didn’t ensure medical evaluations and procedures, including blood tests, were made available quickly to employees after an exposure; didn’t provide employees with the results of postexposure evaluation tests; didn’t train workers on health hazards and precautions to prevent exposure; didn’t require employees to use gloves and facemasks when contacting infectious materials.
It also didn’t train workers about hazardous workplace chemicals; didn’t annually review and update the exposure control plan; didn’t establish and maintain a sharps injury log; and exposed workers to slip and fall hazards from standing water in the ambulance bay and obstructed exit routes.